Monday, April 30, 2007

Columbus Crew 1, D. C. United 0

Big smiles all around.

Austin and I were hopeful. They've been playing rather well (with the exception of the Open Cup defeat which, thanks to the powers that be, I did not - in fact, could not - watch) but D. C. is D. C., and D. C. on paper is a formidable force.

A paper lion, as it turns out.

Ezra Hendrickson, I love you, you giant black flamingo.

Monday, April 23, 2007

LUUUUUUU-cinda! April 21, Knoxville TN

Can there be a better way to spend a Saturday evening than a date of sorts with Lucinda Williams?

Even the straight girls say hell, no.

It was a most excellent show. Here's the setlist courtesy of paul_from_losangeles (and who almost certainly won the Who Traveled the Farthest? Award). The real highlight for me was hearing Greenville, the song my shouts (well, just slightly above conversational level vocalizations) could not persuade her to sing last go around. Jailhouse Tears gets better every time I hear it. Please put it on a record soon, Lucinda. And a new one might not be that far away: she said she demo'd 25 songs for West and had written more since, being in a prolific period right now. She put her guitar down for several songs, and it was that Elvis Costello awkward hand gesture thing and the drunk-chick-Free Bird dance. Is this how performers keep themselves entertained? Is it a way to test themselves? Is it just stylish right now? All I know is it just ain't right.

Walking out to our car, we saw her getting on the bus. The redneck in me showed: I hollered out LU-cinda loud enough to make her look our way. I couldn't help it. It was just impossible to reconcile in my head that the lovely lady on stage was now trying to step on a bus. Drinking will do that to you.

Thanks, Lucinda. A most excellent evening.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Into Action

About freaking time, Tim.

This is Carson Daly's Pick of the Week, so you *know* it's cool. Seriously, I'm not part of their target demographic, but I do know that if you're toes ain't tappin', you be dead.

Skye Sweetnam (yeah, I'd never heard of her either) and The Aggrolites help out.

The complete CD and a DVD of the videos is promised on May 22. But I've been lied to before.

UPDATE! the scavenger hunt is on.

Five of the new ones available for download here.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

I'm in Wonderland, Part Deux

And there's angels, angels everywhere. Ok, so it's just one, but it's a goodie: Juan Pablo Angel signs with RBNY.

Work-dodger me listened to the some of the transatlantic bilingual conference call wherein El Bruce made the announcement, Juan Pablo spoke briefly and answered questions. JPA impressed me as articulate, intelligent and ready to play.

Better hair, better shirt - I think Red Bull's gonna look good on you, JPA.

Monday, April 16, 2007

I almost OD'd on soccer this weekend

but damn, it was fun.

First up, Josie's game Saturday morning. There is a 100% chance of rain and we have not won a game or even scored this season. Fortunately, Jos has eaten her Wheaties and she scores 6 goals. 6! That's *two* hat tricks! From my little dilettante!

This is the part where I say I taught her everything she knows.

Next up: Mostest (a/k/a Clint Dempsey) and Fulham fighting a relegation battle against Reading, who annoy me with their striped shirts. Fulham lost but Mostest looked pretty good. And he played well, too. Ba-dump-bump.

Call me crazy, but Columbus Crew at Real Salt Lake was my evening's marquee match. The Crew just look sharp this year. Joe Jackson sharp. Two random observations: Jeff Cunningham has the worst excuse for a mohawk EVER and the Crew need somebody to score goals. Hopefully, this dude will be that dude. A 0-0 tie on astroturf is ... a pretty good result, considering.

Next, the weather hit Washington. Kansas City just whooped up on D.C. in a deluge (a theme for east coast soccer this weekend), 4-2. Is D.C. the new Crew? Eddie Johnson, in his first game of the season, has half of his 2006 goals. Not that that's anything to brag about, being 1 in '07 and 2 in '06. Edster's been in a little bit of a slump. Took a peek at the Revs/Toronto game (a 4-0 beatdown), and tried to get through the first half of Dynamo/Chivas (1-0), but my mental game had hit the wall by then. And this was just Saturday. !

It's a good thing it rained/snowed/sleeted. I had an excuse to stay in and watch more on Sunday.

So, first it was this Chelsea/Blackburn semifinal thing for one of the gazillion competitions those pissy Englishters have. This was the F.A. Cup, which is similar to the U.S. Open Cup in that it's open to any team in the respective country. No, not really - that was just to make the Englishsters groan. We (Austin and I) were rooting for Blackburn. We like underdogs and we hate Chelsea, at least as much as we can hate without really being interested at all. Blackburn gave 'em hell, but pulled up short in overtime. We were hoping there would be fisticuffs, like after the Carling Cup (they have an overabundance of cups in the U.K. apparently). No such luck, all huggy-kissy at the end.

Next, it was the Argentine SuperClasico between Boca Juniors and River Plate, which I always want to call River Plah-tay, because that sounds more Argentine to me. Unfortunately, it's River Plate just like dinner plate. Somebody should say something to them. My interest in this game was to take a look at the dude who might be That Dude for Columbus, Guillermo Barros Schelotto. These people take their soccer seriously. There's a fence, like chicken wire but not, surrounding the field to keep most of the shit the fans throw out. I don't think anybody sits down. Ever. The whole stadium was shaking. Boca came out strong, scoring in the 45st second (yes, second), but a second half comeback of sorts by River Plate brought things level and that's the way the cookie crumbled. Guillermo got to play 3 or 4 minutes. My only observation: he's very clean. Are his bags packed yet? The Crew need him. Like, um ... , yesterday.

The New York Red Bulls played at 3pm as well, but on effing Telefutura, which I do not get. We tune in Rapids/Fire at 8 just to keep our momentum going, but we're not really into it. Some Colorado player got redcarded early in the first half but big ups to them. They played like they had 12 guys out there. Channel surfing, I find that MSG is replaying the RBNY game! Hallelujah! What a game! The deluge/nor'easter/7th sign of the apocalypse hit hard on East Rutherford, N.J., but the Red Bulls came out to play. Mathis is back. And Altidore - that kid's going places. Loved his diving goal celebration. Double-loved Mathis joining him in it.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Church has changed...

but then again, so have I.

We went to all kinds of churches when I was growning up. We were Presbyterian in California, Methodist in Virginia and Baptist in Missouri. Our move to Tennessee coincided with my apparent graduation from Sunday school and church in general, although I attended some youth things from time to time (especially if they involved travel) and the occasional foray into the unknown realms of Catholicism and Unitarian Universalism. Except for a short time in the middle 90's when I felt enough shame to take the kids to church on a semi-regular basis, we have largely remained unchurched. I am very selfish with my free time.

Except for Easter Sunday.

I guess it's a guilt thing. Maybe you've heard of Catholic guilt? I guess it's impossible to compare, but Protestant guilt is pretty intense. Particularly in the Bible Belt. I always feel compelled to go to on Easter. Usually we are on vacation and visit a church, which is the way to go to church. Completely attachment free! This year, no vacation due to scheduling conflicts. I hadn't given much thought to Easter at all - I even forgot the Easter Bunny. But my kids haven't forgotten. Austin and Josie want to know if we're going to church. If you want to, I say, thinking of course they won't want to go. They'd rather be stuffing themselves with chocolate and hunting Easter eggs. However, they want to go. Kids! Go figure. So, the Easter Bunny comes Sunday morning and after that excitement we get ourselves ready and go to church. I am not doing Sunday school. I have principles, and they are mostly about maximizing the number of hours of sleep I can get in a given situation.

The first change I notice: I'm wearing pants. For years, I could not step in to a church in pants. It just felt wrong to me. Up until I became too fat to wear either of the two dresses I own, I stuck to my guns. Then I had to sit through a funeral in a too-tight dress, in hose with a waistband of sandpaper and with a zipper poking me in the neck at every prayer. And we said a lot of prayers that day. I am now a confirmed pants-wearer, and I was recently vindicated in this decision when I attended a funeral where not only I, but the majority of the women present (including the bereaved widow), wore pants.

The second change wasn't obvious at first glance. They looked normal enough. But, as God is my witness, I have never heard anybody shout 'Wooooo hooooo!!' during a church service before. I have never heard that stalwart Baptist favorite "Power in the Blood" infused with electric guitars (karaoke style) and hand claps. To be fair, the congregation were ending a six week series on "Discovering Joy" that particular Sunday. And, also to be fair, it seems a perfectly logical conclusion to the Christian ethos. Christians should be joyful - I get that. They just didn't seem very practiced at it, so it seemed forced and strange. Well, it was going to seem strange to me anyway. All those churches I went to as a child were somber and reverent in their worship, full of gentle altar calls and contemplation of sin. You said 'amen' after the preacher did and you sang when he said so, but otherwise your job was to sit still and be quiet. Once a month or so, he'd tell a joke and you were allowed a polite chuckle. Woo-hooing is not something I'd anticipate. Not even at Easter.

But you know what? Everybody's got their own way. They weren't sacrificing animals or handling snakes. At least, not that I saw.

Happy Easter, peeps. Just a few days late. Remember: the message is tolerance.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

God damn it, you've got to be kind

And somehow, this is the unkindest cut of all.

Kurt Vonnegut dead at the age of 84.

Sure, he's been wanting off this planet for some time, and sure, he even tried to check out early once.

But, goddammit, I ain't ready for this.

A writer. An artist. A thinker. A 21st century Renaissance man. World's first Bokonist. That rarest of things: a decent human being.

God bless you, Mr. Rosewater. Hi ho. So it goes.

Here's a couple things to remember him by: this essay on fossil fuel addiction and other inconvenient truths, and this little portrait on inspiration.

So, today, in his honor, go out and goof around in Indiana or South Dakota or Tierra del Fuego or wherever the hell you find yourself. Be kind to somebody. Do something decent for your planet. Remember: company's coming! clean up the mess!

Monday, April 09, 2007

April 7, 2007: It's Soccer Time in Tennessee!

It was absolutely delicious. Like cold clear water after 300 miles of desert. Like waking up at 6 a.m. and realizing it's Saturday and you can sleep in. Like manna from Heaven. Like pizza from Pizza Hut...Yes, it was *that* good.

We got our weekly grocery foray over ASAP, or as ASAP as we could due to the large number of turistas landing on Wal-Mart Saturday morning. Life in a tourist town: a picnic, it ain't.

Anyway, first kick was 3:30 Saturday afternoon with an actual pre-game show. On ABC. Like a real sport! Colorado Rapids hosting 2006 Supporter's Shield winners D. C. United. Dick's Sporting Goods Stadium is gorgeous, but unfortunately named. Given that the Rapids frequently get flamed as the "Crapids" (about average on the MLS dis-o-meter) and that they partnered up with Arsenal, who frequently get flamed as...well, you get the picture. And if you don't, you are obviously a better person than I. I had picked D. C. to win, forgetting that they were coming off a defeat in Mexico on Tuesday. I hate being wrong but it's nice for the Rapids to get a win for their home opener in their lovely, lovely soccer-specific stadium, complete with an actual boot room and real grass. Nice human interest piece on Pablo Mastroeni during the half time show. Yes, half time show. Julie Foudy assumed Eric Wynalda's duties temporarily while he pays penance for wanting to kick ass. She said The MLS too many times for me to count and it chafed. I have a thing about proper usage of determiners. It looked cold as hell, but they appeared to have the best turnout of the weekend.
Note to Rapids fans: if you want us to read it, hold it the right way!

We caught some of the Real Salt Lake/FC Dallas game afterwards, in between dinner and that endless mountain of laundry casting a shadow over my entire adult life. Nothing notable for me in that one, but I'm curious about Freddy Adu. I can't help it. It's interesting that it's Josmer Altidore of the New York Red Bulls doing the Impossible is Nothing spot and not little Freddy. Which 17 year old phenom will capture the hearts and minds of the American soccer public next?
And the high point of the evening, the piece de resistance, the complete and total realization of this American fan's soccer experience: Crew v. NYRB.
Yes, I'm saying that with a straight face.

Sure, neither team has an iota of LA's glamour. Sure, neither one did very well last year and sure, that's the understatement of the year. But these are *my* teams. And look!
There's Eddie Gaven with a smile on his face! There's Claudio Reyna ON his feet, apparently uninjured! And that's what I've been waiting for.

Friday, April 06, 2007

It's like a pimple that must be popped...

Quentin Tarantino, originally from Knoxville and therefore almost a neighbor, has a new movie out, Grindhouse. Which made me remember: he was almost Nick Lowe's son-in-law. NL's adopted daughter, Tiffany Anastasia Lowe, dated him for a while. June Carter Cash wrote a song about it.

Just had to get that out of my system.

No Rain, Plenty o' Pain

Houston loses to Pachuca 5-4 on

Where's that away goals rule when you need it?

Big ups to Houston for fighting a good fight (except for giving away two - two!! - penalties). Bigger ups to Dominic Kinnear for whatever he said to this team at the half. I predict they will be beating down the Gals on Sunday.

More predictions: today will be Mostest's breakout day in EPL; DC will pound the Arsenal right out of the Rapids; RSL will take it down to Funky Town; the Fire will blister the Revs; Toronto will beat Chivas, but just barely. I'm completely conflicted about the Crew/Red Bulls game. It will be a glorious agony.

One more day!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

I still want an explanation...

But I don't think I'm gonna get one.

Tim Armstrong's solo album will be coming out 5/21, it seems. Not just the two internet tracks, but a cd/dvd package.

The streak is over, dude. I call shenanagins.

But I can't wait to hear it.

Down In Mexico

It rained on de feet and it rained defeat on D.C. United. There's a highlight (yes, that's "a" highlight) here, but you might have to hunt it. MLS is keeping the world safe from cyber-terrorism by refusing to play well with others. It was a sweet goal, a nice little bicycle by Jaime Moreno. I admit, I slept thru a lot of it, but I did see that goal and the pissy little equalizer from that boy with the panties on his head. The 9:30 kickoff (which actually had to be 9:45ish, because I watched all of House and then tuned in to the game in the 20th minute) was a little late for this old soccer mom. My soccer drought is at an end, so my motivation just wasn't there last night. Besides which, it's D.C. United. My conscience is clear and I can go back to hoping they lose often and miserably where ever they may play now.

Houston, the hopes of the American soccer nation go with you. Orange and white, fight fight fight. T for Texas, T for Tennessee. I'm trying to feel enthusiastic, anyway. Another 9:30 game. And my own little Austinator also has a game that day. Like I said, the drought is over. MLS kicks off Saturday at 3:30 on A-freakin'BC. Games all day long and more on Sunday because Direct Kick is free for the opening weekend.

Must-See Match? for me, RBNY taking on the Crew in Columbus. Chance of snow, 10 %. Chance of my heart being twisted, torn and trashed by divided loyalties, 100%.