Wednesday, May 23, 2007

It's Easy to Hate...

and all the best ideas are stolen, anyhow.

40 Things I Hate More Than Paris Hilton.

(thanks, Rob Sheffield. I'll watch my slang and punctuation on the internets from here. on. out.)

I know this is hardly unchartered territory for me. I'm beginning to feel a little like Ouiser in Steel Magnolias: I'm not crazy, I've just been in a very bad mood for 40 years.

40. Litter. I saw a condom discarded on the road while walking my dog this morning. Sure, it's kind of a rural area, but not so sleepy that people park at stop signs. Truly, I am puzzled at the placement. Did this man just happen to notice while taking a left on Neal Drive that the condom was still on?
39. Don't go there. The descent from catchphrase to cliche is a slippery slope.
38. Spitting in public. Would it bother you if I bled on your shoes? Then don't hock loogies on my sidewalk.
37. Hummers. Not the little birds. The big, bo-honking, gas-guzzling, environment-wrecking vehicles of Satan and his evil minions.
36. Because, besides the aforementioned, when they want to turn left and I want to turn right, they always creep out in front of me and obstruct my view so I can't see if I'm about to be annihilated by another one of them driving hellbent on destruction and mayhem.
35. Anybody who interrupts me when I'm eating. I bite. Really!
34. Social climbers, particularly out here in the boondocks. I have a clever name for them: SC2, which would be even more clever if I could figure out how to raise that "2" so it would be "squared". Sevier County Social Climber. S.C.S.C. Get it?
33. The relentless telemarketers who work for Rolling Stone. A new standard in harassment.
32. Whineybutts. Shut up, already.
31. This whole global obsession with reality tv. I invite every one of you sad obsessed bastards to spend a few minutes out in fresh air doing some actual people watching.
30. Eurosnobs. You can't enjoy domestic soccer because it doesn't have the EPL atmosphere? NOT going's gonna help that a lot. Even sadder bastards than the reality addicts.
29. Americans who refer to the guys on the SOCCER team as 'the lads.'
28. Lapdogs. And I have Paris to blame for this. Chihuahuas, Malteses, tea cup poodles, and things of that ilk: eminently bootable.
27. The phrase 'in reality.' I'm quite positive MY reality is radically different than yours, thank you very much.
26. The location of my cubicle. Inevitably, I will be sitting between my boss and a coworker
25. "touching base" over my head as I desperately try to keep up with all things Costello on the internet.
24. The coworker who drums her fingers on my filing cabinet
23. while waiting for her faxes to go through. Go back to your desk already, heinous bitch!
22. Americans who exclaim "spot on!" in response to a righteous point. The soccer geeks somehow think they sound more *authentic* spouting such Anglicisms. Can we build our own soccer vocabulary already? They tried and failed to colonize us a couple hundred years ago. Get over it.
21. The people who think this country is for Americans only. I mean, forget about that big statue with the 'bring us your tired, your huddled masses, etc'. The only native Americans are the Native Americans. So, go home already.
20. Crowds, and the herd mentality.
19. Always being The Responsible One. When my kids leave home, get out of my way.
18. Answering the phone and hearing a recording. It's bad enough that all my mail is junk mail, must all my phone calls be junk as well?
17. That strange brown slime that's growing on Dan Marino's upper lip in the Nutrisystem commercials.
16. Working on major holidays, when the rest of the world has a day off. Hell, it seems like I'm always working when the rest of the world is loafing.
15. People who throw their gum down on the ground. Punishable by death, I say.
14. The person or persons in my office who leave four squares of the world's cheapest toilet paper on the roll. We all know it takes a good yard of this cheap tp to do the job proper. What am I supposed to do with four measly squares?
13. Improper parkers. Honestly, the rest of the world just needs to go back for remedial driver's ed with an emphasis on parking. What is so darn hard about pulling in straight when you've got two white lines to guide you? I say it over and over and the world refuses to listen: if you can't park it, don't drive it.
12. Other people's loud radios. I might accidentally hear Paris "singing" and then I'd have to pour Mr. Clean in my ears.
11. Those freaking Maxoderm commercials. The one dude is a dead ringer for Dan Rather, I must say. Not sexy.
10. Remakes. Songs, movies, etc. Has Hollywood run out of ideas?
9. People whose musical curiousity died the day they graduated from high school.
8. George W. Bush - why did it take me until the last ten to get to him?
7. Cole slaw.
6. Loud restaurants.
5. Fart mufflers and
4. Bullet bikes
3. The power of the 18-34 year old male demographic. We are doomed to be plagued by Adam Sandler movies for the next 10 years.
2. Larry the Cable Guy and the phrase
1. Get R Done.

Monday, May 21, 2007


You know that feeling, where you've been at the beach or the lake or the river all day, swimming and floating and swimming and sunning and swimming some more, and it's about to get dark so you go inside, dry off and sit down to relax, only you can't because you feel all weird and soggy and sore? Well, I had the soccer equivalent of that last night.

180 miles, 48 hours, 5 games, 4 points, 3 goals (one called back) and one chatty nine year old companion later, somebody give me a gold medal for Being a Good Sport. I did not abuse the referees, even when they deserved it (that goal was IN!!). I cheered supportively, not negatively (and honestly, how many times can you say Go, Purple! with feeling ???). I sat through Shrek 3 (and that franchise has lost its charm, let me tell you). We are now done for the season.

And I miss it already.

pictures to follow!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Those Who Do Not Learn From History

are, of course, condemned to repeat it. This is particularly true in high school, but perhaps more applicable to algebra. Anyway, the gods have got it in for me this week. First I was wrong about the signing of the year. Now I am at least partially wrong about emergency rooms. Partially.

It was the Austinator, naturally. An old friend told me when my first child was about a year old that I would be lucky if I only took him to the ER once in his formative years. This was Austin's second trip in 13 years. Ergo, he's pushing me to the edge of my maternal sanity. The first was the infamous bicycle incident when he was 7, in which he drove his bike into a mail box, sailed over the handle bars, landing in a blackberry bush and coming out with a knot the size of a super bouncy ball on his forehead. Somehow I managed to get him (wailing and bleeding and slobbering), the bike and the dog back home and then to the ER to check that knot. Which was NOT a concussion. Everything else was bandaid-able.

But not last Tuesday.

Last Tuesday, May the 15th, in the year of our lord 2007, our family suffered its first fracture. OK, so that's technically not quite true, since Katie mysteriously broke her collar bone when she was a toddler - I still don't know how that happened. I suspect it had something to do with her love of climbing up things and jumping off them. I still have a hard time keeping her grounded. But this was our first major sports injury which, in 15 or so years of soccering, is a pretty good record, considering.

But I digress.

They were big, but they weren't that skilled, these hell children from Carpenter. So that meant they relied on their physical abilities to win balls. With slide tackles, which Austin deftly jumped over; elbows to the neck, face and torso, which he fended off; and hip checks. Hip checks, as in hockey. And one particularly demonic psycho-player hip checked my baby boy. Really hard. Austin didn't bounce right up this time. I yelled at the referee with a complete lack of abandon to do something about the fouls, and my baby was still lying there. The whistle blew for the end of the half and he was still down, but now his coach was with him. Eventually he got up so I thought, he's going to be ok, but I went to check on him anyway. And he's walking toward me holding his little hand up with his face all scrunched up, almost crying but trying to be tough and he says 'I can't close my fingers.'

So, of course, I calmly and collectedly escorted him to the car and calmly and collectively drove to the ER. No, not really, I think I yelled at some people to get out of our way and I drove past a policeman doing 60 in a 35 mph zone (but he looked the other way, thank you traffic gods). And I know my hands hurt the next day because I was hanging on to the steering wheel so hard. But I'm digressing again. We got there and for the first time ever the lobby was completely empty. All we had to do was fill out paperwork (which gets on my tits - what do they do if you're unconscious? dying? have a mangled limb hanging off your body? do you STILL have to fill out the paperwork before you can be seen?). And we got sent back to the non-emergency care section, which also angered me. Just what constitutes an emergency??? We sat there for a while, Austin grimacing and looking pale and me saying 'just breathe. just breathe in and out' like he was in labor or something, and Josie needing to go to the bathroom and Heely around the halls. We wheeled down for some X-rays. Josie went to the bathroom again. A fellow soccer parent who is also a doctor stuck his head in to say he looked at the x-ray and it looked ok to him. A very nice physician's assistant examined Austin and the x-ray, pronounced it a soft tissue injury that needed a splint and left to get said splint. She returned a few minutes later to say oops, it is indeed broken and showed us on the x-ray exactly where. We will need to see an orthopod in the next 5-7 days (!! and I took that at face value, thinking they will be angry when I call them tomorrow!) and we will get that splint on now. Again, she goes to get the splint or play solitaire on her computer or something. A very nice nurse comes in and asks Austin how long it's been since he ate. She's got some pain medication for him so she suggests a soft drink to go with, in case it makes him nauseous. I ask her what she's giving him and she says Tylenol-3. She then turns to Josie with the pill wrapper in her hand and asks if she wants something as well. As God is my witness, I thought she was offering my daughter a hit of Tylenol-3. Austin and Josie both think this is hilarious, and the nurse is looking at me like I'm not quite sane and DHS ought to be called.

And then the rest of the team showed up.

Well, ok, not the whole team, but his four best buds Brandon, Marcus, Caleb and Cody. And their parents. And both coaches. And I have never been so glad to see these people in my life. It was just such a nice thing to do. I try to downplay hospital/doctor visits as much as possible, trying to give my kids the impression that whatever it is, it's no big deal because kids (and moms) take tiny pieces of information and imagine the worst possible scenario, and that Austin, he just gets ideas in his head sometimes. I've always tried to keep our medical party small, usually just me and whoever needs to be seen. Tuesday, we're having a pep rally in Curtain One.

It was nice to know they cared. Thanks, guys. And big ups/thanks to the ER staff who put up with our little pep rally.

Monday, May 14, 2007

News Flash: I was wrong.

The MLS signing of the year is not Luciano Emilio. It is not even the Geico gecko. I have seen the future of soccer in America and his name is Guillermo Barros Schelotto. The Columbus Crew #7. That's right, Columbus, a/k/a Cowtown, C-bus, BFE, Middle of Nowhere, insert-a-derogatory-nickname-here. In Ohio. Middle America. Land of the Average Joe. The Non-Coast.

And that's just as it should be, because Guille (an icon to Boca fans the world over) seems like a laid-back, hard-working family man. A workhorse like his former teammate Carlos Tevez. Dependable. Steadfast. Skilled. Prepared. A soccer-playing Boy Scout, if you will.

If you happened to watch the Crew NOT lose to Chivas Saturday evening, then you know why I'm excited. Schelotto brought creativity, brilliant vision and, given the language barrier, excellent direction. All that skill and talent and leadership and intelligence is the Crew's for the next two years, and the Crew have a herd of young players who can learn a lot. There's so much potential there, it's scary.

I smell ... a dynasty.

Welcome to Columbus, Guille.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Inner City Violence

my latest obsession.

I thought oh, brother when I heard the sirens at the start. Another street fighting poser song. And then the horns came in.

It's a minimalist masterpiece. Not one extra note, not one gratuitous sound. Restrained and evocative guitar, almost gentle vocals and sweet, sweet horns. Which is not to say it's quiet. There's a LOT of sound there.

Download it here and turn that mother up.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Saturday Night's Alright for ...


Outdoor, summertime, beer & lawn chair concerts.

And to start the season out right, Jim and I headed down to Maryville (pronounced MUHRvull) to The Shed at the Harley-Davidson dealership. Yes, I said Harley. It's a cool little venue: basically a covered pavillion there to the side of the store with enough room to put a couple hundred folks under the roof. They sell beer and BBQ, but you have to bring your own lawn chair - but that's not a problem for this intrepid soccer mom. It's right on 321, but there's not a lot of traffic noise. There's not all that much traffic in Maryville, especially when you venture out to the outskirts. Saturday night's headliner was James McMurtry and I assume the guys with him were the Heartless Bastards. I took one picture with my phone, but it was garbage, so I stole this one. Just put him in a faded black baggy T shirt and black jeans and that's my picture.

We were joined by our good buddy and pal whom I have previously referred to as The John Prine Ticket Master. I am officially changing his name now to Hayseed Wannabe, and I'm gonna buy him his first pair of overhauls. Maybe a John Deere cap, too. I like him *that* much. We met Hayseed at a Mexican restaurant pre-show. Did I mention it was Cinco de Mayo? Not one of my better ideas, but damn did they feed us fine. Great food and a whole lot of it. Hayseed recently celebrated a big birthday, so I'm going to give him an Alzheimer's pass for not knowing the show started at 7. Not 8. 7. 7, Hayseed. We only missed a little of the opener, whose name escapes me (but I bet Hay will remember!) and whose voice I found vaguely irritating.

James McMurtry has a bunch of guitars. Like, eight. And this guy came out and tuned them all. Diligently, lovingly and excruciatingly slowly. Then these random guys came out and picked up instruments. No, they are not vagrants, they are the band. JM is the kind of guy you would probably avoid eye contact with on the street. He looks a little dangerous in a redneck survivalist kind of way. So, it's a good thing he can write a good song and pick a good tune, because you wouldn't buy a car (new or used) from him. He's not a chatty kind of guy either. He looks like he could just as easily tell you to go to hell as tell you to come back and see us again real soon. And he's most definitely NOT a republican. Probably not a democrat, either, but I wouldn't count him amongst the John Birchers. He has a voice and a point of view, and he's not afraid to use either. So I was thinking he would get a fairly hostile reception, here in ardently republican east Tennessee. The audience was part bikers, part overall-wearing country boys, part LL Bean type couples. And us. Fisticuffs seemed inevitable.

Alas, it was not to be. Everybody seemed to be having a great time. I'm not sure they all understood all the words, because I'd give JM a C+ in subtlety. Some good tunes all around, my favorite being Choctaw Bingo, which is just an absolute verbal locomotive, a barrage of character sketches and X-acto knife insights, with some incestuous fantasies thrown in for good measure. Maybe it's not incest if you're second cousins - I'm really not sure of the legalities. He played all those guitars. They did a one song encore. And then we all went home.

And that's a fine way to spend a summer evening.

Like Elton John said

Saturday night's alright for fightin'


Clint Dempsey, a/k/a The Mostest from Nacogdoches, scored what could be a $50 million dollar goal for Fulham. Sure, it was against a Liverpool reserve team, but like the man says, three points is three points.

see it here - it is rather pretty.

I expected a stylin' & profilin' celebration, but I guess he was caught off guard. Good for him, good for Fulham. I say he gets the start on Sunday.