Sunday, May 31, 2009

Best Mind What You Say These Days

Remember during the Bush years how all of those writers, celebrities, and whatnot constantly, publicly, never-endingly screamed about how W and his evil minions were killing free speech? Remember? You must, because they said it almost every day in news conferences, on talk shows, in press releases, in interviews, in movies, during concerts, and so on.

Well, read this article here. It talks about Obama's moves to limit lobbying for stimulus moolah. Boring. But hey, wait a minute, isn't something there fishy about this? The Washington Examiner thought so, and when they reviewed comments regarding lobbying restrictions on the White House's website, they found this doozy of a comment:

For the first time, we will reach contacts not only by registered lobbyists but also by unregistered ones, as well as anyone else exerting influence on the process. We concluded this was necessary under the unique circumstances of the stimulus program.

Why is this important? The Washington Examiner thinks it's important because . . .

This is the Camel's nose under the tent, being poked because of special circumstances. Let government restrict political expression - i.e. lobbying of government officials regarding policy - in one small, supposedly specialized area and not long after the specialized area starts expanding. Eventually, all political expression regarding all policy will become subject to government regulation.

So, is the government now openly suggesting it can restrict free speech? Free speech is pretty important. It will be interesting to hear the White House explain this one away. And I am sure that Sean Penn, Johnny Depp, Matt Damon, and all the rest who fought so nobly for free speech under W's regime will be speaking out against this any day. Right?

Right?

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Thoughts On The End Of The Season

So, Chelsea win the FA Cup - congratulations. Here interim Chelsea coach Guus Hiddink models what seems to be an amazingly well fitted FA Cup on his head. Everton never looked dangerous after their instant goal in the first minute. Chelsea have had some season. Big Phil screwed their chances at the Premier League title and their chance to go to the Champions League final was outrageously stolen by the ref. My thought here is that had Chelsea had Guus Hiddink from day one and had their second match again Barcelona been fairly officiated, they would have taken the league and the Champions League too.

They have a certain quality that United, for all their amazing wealth of talent, lack. Even after that first minute goal today you just knew they were going to win anyway. And while Barcelona made United look almost average, Chelsea did the same to Barcelona, despite the outcome. While watching their games this year I always got the sense that Hiddink's Chelsea were never out of any match. Chelsea compared to United is in my eyes just like the Boston Red Sox compared to the Yankees. The Yankees and United are better on paper and should generally win based on talent but they lack the certain clutchy, steely, bounce backyness that the Red Sox and Chelsea have in abundance.

So how does United get a bit of steel in their spine? I have a few thoughts, of course. Scholes, Giggs, Nani, and Park should be moved out to pasture. Evra should be reminded that he has to make tackles. Anderson needs to be used more. He completely smothered Leo Messi in the Olympics so he can and should be used to as a roving dangerman snuffer. Have him mark the opposing danger man all match. Tevez and Ronaldo will be gone and so there will be seemingly big gaps up front. Signing Ribery or Valencia or some other such attacking player is not what's needed. Wellbeck, Macheda, and Tosic deserve their chance and I think if they get it they will do very well as a nice addition to Rooney and Berbatov. What's really needed is a world class central midfielder with scads of snarl. A player who will run the farthest to tackle the hardest. A player who will squash locker room problems. A player who can score clutch goals. A hard man who is not to be trifled with. A man like . . .

Friday, May 29, 2009

Deucing With The Stars

Have you ever wanted to own a Japanese soccer star's used toilet but never quite found the right opportunity? Well, your day has arrived!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The First Rule Of Bullfighting Is If The Bull Wins . . .

. . . you lose. Big time. Like this guy


Why more people don't get this simple fact is crazy to me.

Waterboarding

Are you one of those people who bring up the evils of waterboarding when you have deep discussions on torture but secretly have no idea what waterboarding is? Well, reporter Mike Guy volunteered to get waterboarded to find out what it was like. Watch his experience here.

Barcelona Gets The Win

Congratulations to them, they won. But I have to say I have never ever witnessed such a lifeless performance from United. Most notably, Rooney and Evra were no shows. And Fergie made some big mistakes. Anderson should have been used to batter Xavi and Iniesta (he was subbed), and Tevez should have started over Park, who had in my opinion a disastrous match. Giggs had no business being in the starting lineup. Credit where it's due, Ronaldo was a one man team for the first ten minutes or so and he nearly scored three or four times but can one guy beat a team like Barcelona on his own? We probably will find out next year when he joins Real Madrid and gets to play Barcelona at least two times.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Tommy Smyth Gets No Amore

Poor Tommy Smyth, color commentator for ESPN's Champions League matches. Blogging on what the build up to the big match (this afternoon, or tonight, depending where you are not reading this) has been like, he shares this report on his arrival in Rome:

My taxi driver told me that United can't win because he says that Ronaldo plays like a girl. He told me United need a player like Totti - he was a Roma fan. When I said: 'Yes, Totti is good, but Roma are not in the Champions League next year and United (with Ronaldo) won last year and maybe this year as well'; adding: 'Which team would you rather be supporting?' He stopped the taxi and made me get out. So I don't know what his answer was going to be.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

How To Bust A Cherry

Pie, that is. Sort of.

Spongebob Squarepants - A New Interpretation

I happen to feel that Spongebob Squarepants is quite possibly the greatest show to ever appear on TV.
Yes, I said it. And I meant it quite seriously. The show is as deep as the ocean it takes place in. Read here for an interesting take on everybody's favorite sponge. See below for a video discussion.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Regarding Fox Soccer Report

Is it just me (of course it is, silly, nobody reads this) or does Jeremy St. Louis of Fox Soccer Report need to rethink his new ant incinerators/eyeglasses? I'd attach a picture but I can't find one. To get an idea of what they look like, imagine combining those currently in vogue hipster doofus meets Buddy Holly frames with these lenses.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

This Sporting Weekend

The Yankees had yet another come from behind victory on Saturday. And so here the cream pies came again. This time, A.J. Burnett creamed two faces at once: ninth-inning hero Melky Cabrera (again) and Robinson Cano. Burnett even got his cream on Yankees' radio announcer Suzyn Waldman in the crossfire. She didn't mind. It's getting a bit boring now, less spontaneous and more contrived with each creamy splatter to the face. Would it kill Burnett to put the stuff in a pie tin and throw it from distance? If he could hit the mark like that it would be awesome.

Newcastle United was relegated after losing on a Damien Duff own goal at Aston Villa. And you'll rarely if ever see a team fighting to stave off relegation give such a lackluster performance as Newcastle did today. Alan Shearer looked bewildered or miles away after the match. Like Randall McMurphy at the end of One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest. I can't say I blame him. But things aren't so bad for Alan. As the joke that's going around goes, what's the difference bewteen Newcastle and Alan Shearer? Alan Shearer will still be on Match Of The Day next year.

You know, Latin folks have a tendency to name their kids after heroes in Greek mythology. Hector, Nestor, Ulises, Achilleo, and so on. But there's a player on the Kansas City MLS side whose name takes the cake. Herculez Gomez. Wow. Naming your kid Herculez (or Hercules), isn't that a lot of pressure to put on him? God forbid one day he goes to a picnic and can't open the jar of pickles, it'll be all "so I guess you're not Hercules after all" and whatnot.

The Cleveland Indians and the Cincinnati Reds played in the Ohio Cup interleague series this weekend. Cincinnati won the series so they won the Cup. Cleveland's second place finish netted them two Ohio Cups.

And today, one of the most disgraceful acts you'll ever hear about in the sports world took place in Milan. AC Milan played Roma at the San Siro, and it was Paolo Maldini's final game at the stadium. I saw Maldini with the Italian national side in 1994. By that time he had already played for AC Milan for since 1985. Folks, that's 24 years of playing top flight football. He won 5 Champions Leagues (and was runner up 3 times) and God knows how many Italian trophies. And those 24 years were all with the same club. You get this sort of player once in a lifetime. Loyal to the club, professional, well conducted on the pitch and off.

As the match ended and Roma captain Francesco Totti congratulated his former national side teammate Maldini . . .
I have to confess I felt the old choking up thing coming on when I saw this. The FSC broadcast cut away and that was that. But later I read that as Maldini took his lap around he stadium, a group of Milan fans who were dissatisfied with comments he made 4 years ago treated him like shit. What an amazing lack of gratitude and form. Paolo Maldini is probably the best defender who ever lived - you can argue that if you want but only a few others come to mind who can match him. It was shameful, shameful stuff to have treated him like that.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Balotelli's New Fro

Inter Milan sriker Mario Balotelli has a new hairdo to celebrate Inter's winning the scudetto this year.

Lovely. It figures that hairdo would be distasteful because from all accounts he is an incredibly distasteful individual. How disliked by your teammates do you have to be to have them not celebrate with you, and even reprimand you, after a goal like this?



Notice Javier Zanetti giving him the business towards the end of the clip? Displeasure with Balotelli seems to be omnipresent at Inter. Too bad he's letting his bad attitude overshadow what is his undeniably enormous talent.

The Taming Of The Shrews

That was a ham-fisted headline if ever there was one. But what can you say? It was there for the taking. My guys Shrewsbury Town FC lost their play-off final to Gillingham at Wembley today. A last gasp, injury time header by Gillingham striker Simeon Jackson meant curtains for the Shrews.

Gillingham celebrate their victory by jumping up and down like idiots.

And so we stay in League Two. Can't imagine they'll be able to hang on to their star forward -Grant Holt - next year so I feel they may have wasted their best chance for promotion. Anyway, hats off to a good run and wait until next year.

Friday, May 22, 2009

The 2009 Kevin Keegan Coaching Hairdo Award

This year, there is a three-way tie for the Kevin Keegan Coaching Hairdo Award. The winners are:

Nestor Gorosito, head coach of Argentine powerhouse River Plate. I'm afraid even Keegan himself in his prime and current Newcastle defender Fabricio Coloccini cannot match Nestor's perm/mullet.

Mircea Lucescu, UEFA Cup winning coach of Ukranian side Shakhtar Dontesk. He co-wins for what seems to be his sheer lack of concern for how his hair looks. Judging by this picture, if he told me he had never once combed his hair in his life, I would believe him. Similarly, if he told me he combed it five times a day with an egg beater, I would believe him. There's no real way to define what's going on here. The top is permed and the sides are straight? I'm lost. Anyway, congrats to him on his victory.


Pim Verbeek, head coach of the Australian National Team. He wins for having Stage 2 terminal Costanza Balding Pattern but still living his life to the fullest anyway, damn it!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The 2009 Alberto Gilardino Award

This year, I award it to Kyle Lafferty, Northern Irish international and Glasgow Rangers forward, for his bit of play acting in the recent Aberdeen - Rangers match. He did that gross forehead to forehead pushing thing, with Charlie Mulgrew, that soccer players do in lieu of actually using their fists and then - poof! - he went down like a sniper in the stands put one right between his eyes. I'd show you the video but the Scottish Premier League, as part of their continuing effort to prevent its product from being easily accessible to the masses, has had all traces of the video removed from the web. To his credit, Lafferty has admitted he took a dive and has stated that he is completely embarrassed by his actions. But the dive still happened and so he gets the Gilardino Award.

The award is named in honor of Fiorentina forward Alberto Gilardino's infamous dive against Celtic (also from Glsgow, and Rangers mortal enemy).

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Some Tuesday George Best

Just because it's Tuesday. With The Spencer Davis Group's classic Keep On Running for a soundtrack. Kinda hard to beat.

Enough With The Cream Pies Already

Hey, nobody is happier about the Yankees' recent last-at-bat heroics and subsequent resurgence than I am, but this cream pie business has got to stop. It's starting to look like a Japanese porno over there.


Monday, May 18, 2009

You Stay Classy, Rafa

Much is made of the "mind games" Sir Alex Ferguson plays with his coaching rivals. Generally, I think this is poppycocks and the press make big stories out of nothing. But it seems this year we're seeing the real deal as he's really undone serial sore loser Rafa Benitez.

Clearly steamed after coming in second to SAF in their recent war of words (and the league), old Rafa now refuses to congratulate the United manager on winning the Premier League crown. Somehwere at Anfield there is a playpen with toys scattered on the floor around it.

And it seems the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Rafa's classiness must have inspired two of his players - Jamie Carragher and Alvaro Arbeloa - to practically come to blows during their match yesterday. A meaningless match, I might add.

Carragher pulls this quite a bit, doesn't he? Always getting into it with his teammates. People like to chalk it up to his competitiveness but I say that it has more to do with his being, just like United's own Gary Neville, an asshole.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Glory Glory Man United!

Ah, what a day! Another year, another trophy haul, and while this sort of thing can't last forever, we've got a young team and I suspect there is much more silverware to come.

Melky Cabrera - Berlitz School Dropout

Melky Cabrera hit a ninth inning walk off rope to left center to complete the Yankees' comeback victory against the Twins last night. But after the game, YES Network reporter Kim Jones interviewed Melky (after A.J. Burnett had given him a shaving cream pie to the face) about his big night but the questions were answered . . . by a translator. Wha happun! This knucklehead has been playing in the majors since 2005 and he still doesn't know enough English to do a post game interview? Yes, I know from living there, the Bronx isn't the best place for a foreigner to learn English. But come on, 4 years wasn't enough time to learn how to say "I's glad we went out and esecuted tonights but we has to give one hundred and ten percents tomorrow"? He's making 1.4 million this year - how about buying one of those learn to speak the English sets they sell on commerial breaks during El Gordo y La Flaca*?

*if you can look past El Gordo's bare chest, the jacuzzi segments are pretty good.

Friday, May 15, 2009

How Petty Can One Get?

The Scottish have always been burdened with accusations of being cheap - see this excellent Monty Python clip for an example



but this story from the BBC really takes the cake. Or rather, the pie.

Football clubs across Scotland have been accused of fleecing fans - by failing to make sure the VAT has been cut on the pies, Bovril and hotdogs sold at their grounds. . .

Andy Walker, a 58-year-old Celtic supporter from Dundee, got in touch with BBC Scotland to complain that the price of hot food at every ground he has visited had not changed.

He wants clubs and caterers to pass on the reductions.

Mr Walker said: "From the start of the season right to the present day prices have remained the same.
"On a £3 item, for example a hotdog, I should've been saving six pence. . .


Really, Mr. Walker? You've complained to the BBC (and, astonishingly, they've decided to create an entire story out of it) because you have been fleeced to the tune of six pence on your hot dog? Good grief. I guess you've never been to a Yankee game. If you had you'd count your blessings.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

How To Sell An Energy Drink

Darren Rovell, who runs the must-read Sports Biz blog on CNBC, is as intrigued as I am by one "Nora Tobin, Pro Beach Volleyball Player", the delicate young flower who appears in the online FRS energy drink ads. There's an enormous popularity gulf between their two spokesfolks (the two I have seen in ads, anyway), the relatively anonymous yet washboard-abbed Nora Tobin and megastar Lance Armstrong. And yet I bet that despite her being largely unknown the Tobin ads gets far more clickthroughs than old Lance's ad solely on account of her rather fetching appearance. Either way, she is certainly getting noticed which proves that the sex, it sells, baby. In the meantime, I've seen their ads a thousand times and I still have no idea what the hell FRS is. The can looks too much like Tab to trust as being safe.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

This Footballing Weekend In Pictures

Carlos Tevez, (soon to be former) Manchester United striker and truly one of my all-time favorite soccerballers, stops in mid-stride during the Manchester Derby to listen to the churchbells his twin brother Quasimodo is ringing in the distance. Take it easy - he looks like Cary Grant compared to me.

An extremely excited Obafemi Martins celebrates his new hairdo (think George Raft meets Jim Kelly) and his goal in the big Newcastle/Middlesbrough northeast semi-derby/relegation battle by jumping on Newcastle coach Alan Shearer and . . . well, err . . . oh. Hmm. Well, anyway, Shearer doesn't seem to mind. (picture courtesy of The Sun, which is always worth visiting).

American Carlos Bocanegra scores for Rennes against Guingamp (Guincamp defeated Rennes, 2-1, btw). I know the angle probably doesn't do the play justice, but doesn't the keeper look comically out of place? He appears to be diving to get away from the ball. Meanwhile, the defender behind his hands has taken this play off in order to do some interpretative jazz dance.

During his team's 1-1 draw against AC Milan, Juventus fullback Paolo De Ceglie struggles to avoid the Kaka on the pitch.

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Pope Senses Danger

During a press conference in the midst of his trip to The Holy Land (so named because of the non-stop holiness that goes on there) the Pope senses the presence of a predator and puffs his frills to ward off the danger.

Friday, May 8, 2009

The Socrates Of Citi Field

We got to try to continue to win ballgames.

Mets' philosopher coach Jerry Manuel tonight on WFAN, dispensing profound thoughts on what the Mets need to do. I am surprised he did not immediately add that they needed to execute on the field.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Malouda Had Some Hairdo(da)

He had some seriously weird hair during yesterday's match. Is this the new Terra Cotta Army look? Did he get his hair caught in a ceiling fan? You be the judge . . .



Wednesday, May 6, 2009

On Steven Cohen

I support him**. That's it. Hillsborough was an awful, terrible thing, a real tragedy that should never have happened, and there's lots of blame to go around. But let's not forget that there were those who were pushed and those who did the pushing. Doesn't matter how or through whom the pushers got in. Ultimately, the people that pushed did in the pushed.

Read about Hillsborough here.

Read the Taylor report here.

Read about Steven's actual quotes here.

Read dissatisfaction with Steven here.

Read about Newton's Third Law here.

** sorry to my three regular readers - you'll have no idea what I am talking about but no worries, it's OK.

When Cup Celebrations Go Bad

Don't you miss the good old days when the winning team would just jog around the pitch holding the trophy up to the fans in the stands? I can't stand these new celebrations with the fireworks and smoke and the team jumping up and down in unison like idiots jumping over an imaginary jump rope. Also, the fireworks, they can be dangerous, as Fat Ronaldo and his victorious Corinthians found out recently.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

MTA Bailout! Well, Not Really

Hey, looks like us MTA customers might be spared a new fare increase because of a new state bailout! Hurray! Think of the money we'll save! But wait a minute - where does the state get its bailout money from in the first place?

Us.

Oh, and there will be a $0.50 taxi surcharge. So, like I said before, go fuck yourself, taxpayer!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

El Clasico!

Man alive, did anybody else watch Barcelona demolish Real Madrid today? 6-2, at the Bernabeu no less. The main highlight for me - the incredible genius that is Ray Hudson, ex-Newcastle footballer and current color commentator for GolTV. Ray's commentary is uniquely strange and probably like nothing you've ever heard, so here's some of his snippets.