Saturday, June 03, 2006

When Fag-Baiters Yawn,
When Boots Whine

It's a curious time when the President of the United States proposes a hate amendment to the Constitution and the bigots yawn. (It's also a curious time when the President of the United States earns front page plaudits in a major American newspaper for listening - got that? Listening - to opinions other than his own, but that's where we are.)

"I'm going to go and hear what he says, but we already know it is a ruse," said Joe Glover, president of the Family Policy Network, which opposes gay marriage. "We're not buying it. We're going to go and watch the dog-and-pony show, [but] it's too little, too late."
See, don't pretend to hate, don't be a half-assed hater, don't make promises to hatemongers and then yield to the sodomites and then come back and ask us to believe you're truly a hate-filled Jeebus-loving moral troglodyte this time because we don't believe you. You've got to earn it.

Earlier this week, on the Wall Street Journal op-ed page (and in other usual Maxbooted places) the brigades of cubicle warriors denounced The Decider! for giving in to the brown people of Iran by agreeing to - horrors! - the necessities of diplomacy. Armchair heroes deride The Decider! for postponing (it's surely a postponement, isn't it? isn't it? they nervously wonder) of the war in Iran that follows that successful war in Iraq.

The common thread - the Christofascist Right, the Keyboarding Right don't think the biggest asshole to ever hold the Presidency is a big enough asshole. The Decider! promised to be a paradigm-shifting asshole and he just hasn't delivered. He hasn't been the jerk and bigot and hate-merchant and tyrant, the rescuer of the embattled corporate class, the savior of the kazillions of Christers denied Christmas by atheists, that he said he would be. That's why he's at 33% in the polls: his is a failure of assholeness. (Remember Shelby Steele's infamous column, White Guilt and the Western Past: Why is America So Delicate with the Enemy of a couple weeks ago on our wimpiness in Iraq - and by extension, of course, fags and other Liberals.)

Turn up the hate. Be an asshole and mean it. Don't promise to deny certain Americans we designate as evil their civil rights and then not prosecute. Don't promise us a war and then negotiate. The irony of the Right is that they are the assholes they fear when they look at the world through their myopic Hobbesian eyes. It's no wonder the trait they admire most in a leader is assholeness.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Big Game on June 3?

I probably overstate, but I think tomorrow's game v Ningland is far more important than an 11th game in a 32 game season in a league where 2/3rds of teams make the playoffs would normally be. D over at DCenters has been making a provocative case that winning the Supporters Shield this year (with its payoff of a place in next year's CONCACAF Champions League) should be a, if not the top priority, and I'll buy in. That makes the Ningland game an early and important six-pointer. With a third of the season gone, to be ahead of one of only a very few teams that could challenge DCU for the most points, United winning and being up 13 points over Ningland (who would only be down 7 should Ningland win) would be, he says, hyperventilating, sweet.

Not only that. When I look at the schedule I see three distinct sections, and the Ningland game brings an end to the first. In DCU's first 11 games they had 7 home games, 4 away, but after Ningland tomorrow night 9 of the next 12 league games are on the road, including trips to Ningland, KC, FCD, Chicago and Ningland again. Six of the final nine are at home, but for the balance of two months United is going to have to get their points on the road.

They're healthy now, they're playing well now, they've momentum now, and I hate freaking Ningland always. I'm as guilty as anyone when it comes to projecting my emotions as a fan onto the players, but I've got to imagine that psychologically it would make a world of difference heading out on the road with a win rather than heading out with a home loss to the team DCU has to figure will be a primary challenger in the East. And if DCU don't win the East they can't win The Supporters Shield.

* * * *

In Friday's NYT an article on the Czechs, implying that the current team, with nine players, some of them important, over 30, may be too old and tired to run deep into WC06, which would bode well for the US if they were playing them third or even second in group play. But not first. The Czechs would love to make their third game of round play against Italy either meaningful in who finishes first in group or meaningless in that they're already through to knock-off, and that means winning their first game while they're freshest and most hopeful.

As Landru

says, I'm trying not to taunt any or all of the soccer gods, but I honestly don't think things could have broken much worse for the US in WC06 group draw and schedule. Suppose the NYT article is correct and that the Czechs could be cooked by round three, who gets them: Italy. And if Italy gets off to its traditional slow start, compounded by any hangover from the scandal in Italian football, and heads into the second game desperate for three, who gets them: US. The best the US could have hoped for, if they were to draw these three teams, would have been Italy first, Ghana second, Czechs third. Instead, besides drawing the group of death, they drew the worst possible schedule within that group.

Oh well. Best to have a little more music: Lansing-Dreiden.


Sasha Frere-Jones' article in latest New Yorker on America and Brit-pop, their similiarites, differences, and how they influence each other. Here's a quote:
Americans are comfortable with certain kinds of moral ambiguity—hard rock and hip-hop are full of harsh conclusions and unpleasant world views—but we prefer our British bands to be picker-uppers.

Huh? In any case it's an interesting read, and though I disagree with some of it I don't disagree enough to rebut. Here's an interview with Frere-Jones about the article.

A great story on yesterday's All Things Considered on Ralph Epperson who started doing radio the right way in 1948 and was doing it right up until his death early this past May. When asked why his radio station did what it did he said (I'm paraphrasing) "if there are 25 stations all doing the same thing, why start a 26th." Word that, something I'm going to think about this weekend. Check out the music on the link too.

And go read

I never cared for minimalism, never cared for Raymond Carver or Bobbie Ann Mason or Ann Beattie or the whole Iowa School, but there are two, the late Breece Pancake and the still wonderful Amy Hempel, who made miniaturism work as it should: making mysterious and uncanny and large the small. "I leave out a lot when I tell the truth," says the narrator of "The Harvest," perhaps Hempel's most famous story (itself a brilliant deconstruction of the minimalist trend). As a reader, I want to be swerved, and Hempel swerves me almost every story.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Jaime scores his 100th, and it was his pass to Esky that led to the PK.

Except for the last fifteen minutes of the first half when both teams, playing in summer weather for the first time all season, were huffing and still, this was like a practice session for DCU. They rotated the ball in and out and clockwise and counterclockwise until Adu or Gros were left alone on a wing for a run and a cross. Gomez, given room, is wonderful - why opposing coaches aren't employing the strategy of smothering and hacking Gomez like Chicago did last playoffs puzzles me. Columbus may just not have the defensive personnel, but if you're going to let DCU string pass after pass and complete long elaborate plays you deserve to lose 5-1.

I took a friend from work who's expressed a skeptical desire to see a game (my regulars stuck with homework or workwork). He thought the singing, the standing, the chanting enjoyable, but then, when Gomez fed Esky on the breakaway and Esky raced ahead and buried it, he found himself screaming as full-throatedly as everyone else. I've been told if I have an extra ticket for Ningland this Saturday he's interested. I don't.

Flattering bio in Post in the morning, goal in the evening. It is good to be Alecko Eskandarian, at least yesterday.

I realize MLS teams hate home Wednesday games, which is why MLS distributes them equally amongst the twelve teams, but I love them. (The announced attendance was just under 12,000, though it seemed like more than that to me.) It'd be wonderful to get 20K+ for Saturday: beating Columbus 5-1 is nice. Beating Ningland is the test.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Um.... Wednesday

Sonic Youth has a new release coming out in June, but over on the KEXP blog you can hear the entire thing now.

Let me repeat: Sonic Youth has a new release coming out in June, but over on the KEXP blog you can hear the entire thing now.

* * * * * * *

Washington Post columnist Mike Wise writes a column today on DCU's Alecko Eskandarian. There is talk of Esky's pride in his Armenian heritage including his protesting at the Turkish Embassy for official recognition of Armenian genocide of WWI, Esky's favorite band, System of a Down (which I confess to having heard of but of never having heard), and especially these sentences:

Alecko's blood runs somewhere between hot and molten. He has accumulated 15 yellow cards in three-plus years of professional soccer. In 2004 he tied for the league lead in cautions with eight, which is little freakish for a scoring forward."Sometimes you're like, 'Esky, chill out,' " Gros said.

Josh Gros is telling someone to cool down?

* * * * * *

Joe Conason on the media's giggly fascination with the marital sex lives of the Clintons (which started, it needs to be remembered, long before Monica) and its puritan disinterest in the sex lives of of prominent Republican adulterers. And MediaMatters takes on a WSJ opinion writer's challenge and proves him a fool - which he will take as proof of Liberal bias. Wanker.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006


Headline right now in Washington Post:

Paulson Nominated as Treasury Secretary

Yeah, that'll work.

Yet another newspaper article on the mysteries of Hillary, this time in Wash Post and NOT a hatchet job, imagine that. I waver bipolarly on all aspects of Political Hillaryism except on this one very critical issue: Anyone who can make wingnut heads explode in a froth of rabid sexism and pure genuine primal hate has tremendous potential political power. What that means and whether it goes and where it goes if it does and whether it should and what will result are of course debatable, endlessly.

And Roberts and Alito start paying back The Decider! toot sweet! There are no accidents round here. No matter how disasterous (to his supporters) The Decider!s presidency is judged, one of his primary goals was to stock SCOTUS with pro-capital, pro-authoritarian judges, and the bastard has succeeded.

Oh, here's something to read and think about.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Monday: The Extended Sunday

Through the glories of myspace I offer Silversun Pickups who I, aware of my tendencies to hyperbolically rapturous proclamations, nonetheless think may be a damn fine band. Nothing groundbreaking, nothing paradigm-shifting, just a fine damn band. Start - please - with "Kissing Families." Their website offers goodies too. Neither offer the couple of songs I think their best.

Some reads:

A new Alice Munro short story.

Reviews of Roth's *Everyman* here and here. I confess it's sitting on my desk, unread - perhaps I should read it while I'm not feeling overcast, but it seems like a sure way to get overcast fast.

Art Metal? Sunn0)))? New to me.

To Cam: yes, I'll be angry
again soon, I promise.

I apologize for continually harping on the defense, but an on-game Czech Republic and an on-game Italy and an on-game Ghana (which we can agree will not be a gimme, yes?) will cut this team to shoelaces. I don't think the US can win a game in which the other team scores two (do you think the US could get three by Petr Cech?).

And I apologize for continually harping on the strikers. Oof, service has got to be perfect, at their feet, and even then they're not skilled enough to more than flail straight ahead.

And Convey - I never saw this at RFK: he made a run in the 79th minute where he took ball at midfield, ran it into the box, and set up his right foot. The shot was blocked but he hit it well and hit it accurately. I'm thinking if he continues to improve at the pace he has over the past year, if Reading doesn't stick in Premiership after next season (or even if they do) some bigger club's going to come after him.

I liked the kits.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Now Gluttony and Exploitation Serves Eight!

There are two referees in MLS that fill me with dread when I hear they've been assigned to a DCU game, Abe Okulaja (spelling?) and Terry Vaughn. Especially Terry Vaughn. So it is with dire fear of the karmic payback to come from last night's game that I note that for once in his lifetime Vaughn's ineptitude benefited DCU. I don't know if Jaime was offside (or to put it another way, whether Jaime cheated) on the first goal - I've read that he lined up offside and then crossed onside to score. I do know that rewarding Simms a PK for his airball and fall in the box was the single worse refereeing decision I've seen since, oh, the last time Terry Vaughn refereed a DCU game.

Which is not to discount how much better DCU was than KC. Simms in Olsen's hole is clearly the best option while Ben's away. And even if Freddy's poor clearance on the goal line led to KC's goal, Freddy's earning his keep: really, there can't be any debate about why Adu's now on the field for 90 minutes - he's working harder, especially on defense, and he's seemed to have grown up a bit professionally. And that cross on the free kick in first half stoppage that led to Boswell's header was perfect.

Wednesday night at home v Columbus and then BANG! next Saturday v Ningland. I naturally have unreasonably high expectations (until and unless I see Abe Okalaja or Terry Vaughn warming up along the sideline before the games).