Friday, March 30, 2007

I'm in Wonderland

because I've got to believe an impossible thing before breakfast. Clint Mathis back to New York? When donkeys fly.


Red Bull gives you wings!

Good news: dirt cheap. fan favorite or man you love to hate (either of which tends to pique interest, and RBNY need somebody somewhere - even middleaged fanmoms - to show some interest). has not punched a heckler in a coon's age.

Bad news: since his 2005 return to MLS has tallied twice as many cards as goals (but hey, he's not punching hecklers!).

Things that make you go hmmm: 30 years old and not a big fitness freak. Prefers coke to gatorade. He did score the Goal of the Decade, but that was 2001. Nice rocket in the playoffs last year. Incited a riot after.

One more week until the madness begins.

Here's that goal of the decade, just to keep us hopeful.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Remember the Alamo!

USA 0, Guatemala 0 in Frisco, Texas. The grass was pretty. The game wasn't.

The Guatemalan strategy was Defense Defense Defense: nine dudes bunkered sending the occasional ball up to Carlos Ruiz, who showed us just why they call him El Pescadito, flopping like a carp on grass at every possible opportunity. He's up for an Oscar, I've heard. The US of A had about 99% of possession, a figure I invented because ESPNsoccernet is currently showing stats from some other USA/Guatemala game. Miraculously, Bobby Convey was available for substitution in spite of that season-ending knee problem! Jay DeMerit, Michael Bradley, Benny Feilhaber and Frank Simek are all apparently in the Witness Protection Program, because they aren't even listed as substitutes. I expect better, ESPN. *

Some random observations: Clint Dempsey (a/k/a the Mostest from Nacogdoches) had several shining moments and got a full 90 for the first time since October 2006. Donovan had to be the most frustrated newlywed in Frisco. In Texas. Hell, in the northern hemisphere. We were missing Bocanegra's head, but nice to meet you Frank Simek (25) and Jay DeMerit (23) - is it just me, or do those two look an awful lot alike? I like the white shorts, so, ipso facto, the jerseys are elevated to OK. Kasey Keller reminds me of Dana Carvey in The Master of Disguise I won't swear to it, but I'm almost positive I saw Bob Bradley's facial expression change. Bruce Arena, I missed your analysis but I'm glad you were *there* for The Team of Destiny (a/k/a New York Red Bulls). Too bad we lost.

So, has Guatemala got our number ahead of the Gold Cup? I'm counting on Bob to furrow that brow and come up with a solution. June 2 in the City of Angels.

*and goshdarnit, they fixed it. but it was there! I swear!

Monday, March 26, 2007

On a Sunny Afternoon

USA 3, Ecuador 1.

Excellent game for Landon Donovan. You can't argue with a hat trick. Mostest from Nacogdoches had a few moments, but I was hoping for more from him. Our defense shook like a bowl full of jello and, at times, moved about that fast. Still, Ecuador's lone goal was more luck than skill. They are very very fast, but they looked clumsy (which was a blessing, with Gooch, Jimmy and Timmy doing a mighty fine Keystone Kops routine). Feilhaber looks good. And he can play, too. Did he get the "per ardua ad astra" from Jimmy Conrad or do our national team players routinely look pensive and spout Latin? Cool tattoo regardless. Other random thoughts: Cherundolo is small, but feisty; no one rocks a nose plug like Brian Ching; nepotism ain't all bad but football fields *are*; the new jerseys are ugly as hell; I like the Bruce Arena/Eric Wynalda dichotomy, but doesn't one of them (BRUCE) have a team (NYRB) to coach?

Next up: Guatemala, 9 PM Wednesday, good ol' ESPN2.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Happy Birthday to the Jesus

of Cool! Nick Lowe is 58 today (or tomorrow) and still the Sexiest Man Alive. I'm going to be camping on Yep Roc's cyber doorstep until that new album drops. Thanks for 30 years of wonderful.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

My Back Four are Better (looking) than Your Back Four

ain't they cute?

and numerologically auspicious: 4 + 16 + 2 + 60 = 82. 8 + 2 = 10. 1 + 0 = 1, which is of course the numerical symbol of unity.

Sixteen more days. 16. Dunivant! Looks a little like Rosicky when he plays. Hope that's a trend.

p.s. I stole these from MetroFanatic.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Countdown to First Kick: T minus 17 days

April 7 is still a long time away. My MLS jones has progressed from sand-in-the-eyeballs irritation to hand-in-the-toaster torment. How to pass the time?

1. The Riches, Eddie Izzard's series for F/X. Gypsies are the hot new alternative social group as a recent House episode and this show attest. Only to be technically correct, these are Travellers, not Gypsies. Assumed identities, drug problems, and cross dressing (not Eddie!) ensue as the family that scams together stays together. Yes, it's an F/X series. Minnie Driver gets a B+ for a mostly cringe-free southern accent.

2. The whole Shopaholic series. Yes, it is Chick Lit. The shame! the shame! I'm reading Cheever, too, just to balance the karma.

3. Band Madness. Music's answer to March hoops hysteria. And Austin's got me watching (or rather, listening) to hoops as well. Go, Vols! Ladies AND gentlemen.

4. Vicarious living on various soccer message boards. Which is where I found this -

in which a random fan (in profile) invades the Galaxy bench during a Gals/Crew exhibition and asks Landon to scooch. I don't know who you are, dude, but massive big ups.

5. Kicking ass and taking names on Austin's Challenge English Premier League fantasy footy. Sure, I'm #3 of 6, but these guys are good. Personal best: 79 points. The EPL needs to get with the program. I'd love to be drinking beer and yelling at my TV at 11 on a Saturday morning, but somebody has to go to the grocery store. MLS is much more fan-friendly in that regard. Tivo. I wish I had it.

6. Producing pithy yet pointless posts to ponder in perpetuity. Alliteration R us.

Friday, March 16, 2007

CONCACAF Semis, Leg One

Luciano Emilio is Da Man, the shizznit, El Jefe, etc. I expected DC to do better than a 1-1 tie (or 'draw' for you purist euro-snobs). After the fat lady sang, they were lucky to get it. It was a weird game. Dominance teeter-tottered between teams. Club Deportivo Guadalajara, more familiarly known as Chivas (which means 'goats' fwiw) had the form, the speed and the skills but couldn't get into the offensive third. DC played with schizophrenic flair and determination. I'd watch and think, they can win this. Five minutes later I'd think, they're gonna lose. Bad. To a team with "Bimbo" on their shirts.

I did not get to watch Houston Dynamo and Pachuca because I was standing in the rain watching my own little austinator and his team whup up on our county rivals 3-0. But way out west, the sun shone and the soccer gods smiled on Houston. 2-0 thanks to Mssrs. Ching and Wondolowski.

Here's some idle suggestions before the Mexico road trip next month:

1. Train in Denver. I'm sure the Rapids wouldn't mind swapping places for a couple of weeks. And take Lance Armstrong with you. He knows a few things about lung capacity.

2. Take a quick Berlitz course in EspaƱol. At least memorize a few helpful phrases like 'your mama's so nasty, she has to creep up on bathwater' or 'take me to the nearest hospital, please.' Depending.

3. Preparation is everything. Not just life insurance, living wills and powers of attorney. A man with a plan is a man who can. And as my mother used to say, cain't never could do nuthin'. Or was it, the sun don't shine on the same dog's butt all the time?

Go, teams! The hope of the nation goes with you.

What a Girl Wants

This looks interesting.

Here's hoping they do an Orbit-inspired commercial

thanks, Monica. You are a very bad influence on me. Please keep it up.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Hope Springs Eternal at the Lamar Hunt Pioneer Cup

There was some joy in Mudville Sunday night, at least if you were a Crew fan. And really, aren't we all somewhere deep down inside? Well, maybe 'fan' is too strong a word, but I think every MLS fan will wish them health this year. The first half was rather dull, but three goals in the second kept me awake. Dallas looked jet-lagged, especially in the second half. The Crew looked ... sharp is the word that springs to mind. Pretty darn sharp for the preseason. I have tried in vain to find photos, especially post game Eddie Gaven's smiling at last. It was nice to see. Sorry, that's a soccer mom thing to say, but what can I say? I gotta be me.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

It's Not Just a Job...

or is it?

I've been working for this same company for going on 21 years. That's like eons. I had a temper tantrum at my old job doing room service/waiting tables and walked out. Determined to get a desk clerking job (which looked really glamorous from the breakfast shift of a hotel dining room), I hit the mean streets of Gatlinburg. Nobody would hire an ex-waitress to man the desk, so I moved down to the next town and was hired by the now defunct Carlstown Inn. It was fun for a while, learning new stuff. I can say without bragging that I cleared the best board in town. That's motelspeak for making sure the check-outs are out and in the check-ins are in the correct rooms on the board and on the property. Dealing with the public gets old. Quite quickly. The guy who hired me told me to let him know when I finished college. And, foolishly, I did. The next thing I know, I'm demonstrating to an evil woman named Kathy that yes, indeed, I do know how to operate an adding machine. Heck, I can even balance books and set up 3-D Excel spreadsheets!

So, that's how I became a payroll clerk. Or Payroll Queen, as I once signed an IRS return. It wasn't really anything I planned, it just happened. I think that's 98% of my life right there: unplanned, just happening.

I always believed that it would be more.

More interesting, more absorbing, more fulfilling, more something. More.

Growing up I alternated between wanting to be an archaeologist and wanting to be a writer, and I've pulled off a perfect double fault: I'm not either one! I don't even write letters anymore. And I'm sooooooo bored. I want to be engrossed in what I do, not watching the clock and thinking 'when I get off, I'm going to...' and never really doing anything with the possible exception of bitching, which, of course, I'm really really good at. Is that too much to ask? To get something out of eight-plus hours a day besides a vague headache and a paycheck?

I don't know. All I know is that my youngest child will graduate high school in the year 2016. Assuming, of course, that she doesn't end up in reform school. And I'll work in Mickey D's if I have to, but I'm not going to spend one more minute wishing I were somewhere else.

Like Lucinda Williams said, is it too much to demand I want a full house and a rock and roll band? Pens that won't run out of ink, and cool quiet and time to think? Shouldn't I have this?Shouldn't I have this? Shouldn't I have all of this and passionate kisses ... ?

The cool quiet and time to think part sounds like heaven.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Red Bull Fans, While You're Waiting for the Season to Begin...

Check out the trailer for The Goal, a documentary on Claudio Reyna, a/k/a Captain America.

Hopefully, Claudio's dominance in MLS this season will give this project the boost it needs to find a distributor.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

A Rose By Any Other Name

This word has been popping up in a lot of my varied reading lately: class. He's a "class act" (which means that he's good for a couple), that's a "classy" thing to do (which means he just bought you a couple), he just oozes class - I'm not sure what that means, but I think 'ick' sums it up nicely. Here's Dimitar Berbatov allegedly doing just that.

The thing is "class" has lost its meaning. Which brings me to my point. This is the best online find ever. Just type in "class" up there in that big white box and watch the riches pour down. 157 entries worth. Plus antonyms! My definition of "class" in this usage is synonymous with admirable, which in turn is synonymous of cool AND copacetic. Adcoolpacetic(TM), if you will.

Friday, March 02, 2007

CONCACAF Champions Cup, the Quarterfinals*

Well, heck. These second leg games were pretty darn good. D.C. United had it in the bag, being up 4-1. They played sloppy on a slip-n-slide field in the first half, but morphed into the Unstoppable (wish it was) Ugly we all know so well in the second. Luciano Emilio looks like the signing of the season, with all due respect to The Acquisition. And he was so reserved in his goal celebrations - this was his former team! Good manners or fear for his family? You decide.

Houston had it a little tougher. Costa Rica's Puntarenas had them down a goal and a man in the first leg. Eddie Robinson's red card kept him out of the second and Brian Ching's fitness kept him out of the first match and all but the final 20 of the second. His fitness. I thought (and I swear I read it somewhere on the trash-strewn information highway) he was injured, so I was ok with that. Then I learn that he was given an extra long off season due to the World Cup. The World freaking Cup. He didn't even play. Riding the bus is so exhausting? But anyway, I digress. They played on Texas A&M's soccer field, which was beautiful. Not much in the way of "stadiumness", but the grass was gorgeous. Probably a disadvantage to Puntarenas, who play in a dried up cow pasture. To be honest, Houston looked fat and slow, all man-tits and potbellies. Dalglish's goal in the first half turned them into sharks. Fat slow sharks with man-tits, but sharks nonetheless. And Puntarenas reciprocated by strapping on their SCUBA gear and diving with gusto. Yellow cards were given for lip, but none for fouls. Kelly Gray poked in a rebound (off a Ching header - guess he'll be *resting* the next leg) and the fat slow man-titted sharks held on to win 2-1 on aggregate. Stunningly, there seem to be no synonyms for "aggregate." More stunningly, two, count-'em-two, MLS teams are in the semifinals.

D.C. United vs. Chivas, Houston vs. Pachuca, March 14. Be there for the Tex-Mex Clasico.