Saturday, June 24, 2006

Separated at Birth

Mexican midfielder Gerardo Torrado

American midget Richard Simmons

It's even more uncanny if you see Torrado playing Argentina right now (78th minute, 1-1).

Friday, June 23, 2006


Alexi Murdoch
(Took me a while to dig - Nick Drake loyalist that I am - but I dig.)

Twilight Singers

Be Your Own Pet

(start with "Trouble with Dreams" please)

enough with myspace for today: here're some mp3

Asobi Seksu
(who really are all that, though this isn't as good as ones I posted earlier)





(thanks to e-friend Jacob for the Ligeti links. More at his blog.)

Hubbub and Children

Grown-ups will tell us Liberals we are being childish over our outrage over new revelations that The Decider! Collective is absorbing any and all financial information of any and all individuals and any and all corporations in any and all countries in its continuing brave and visionary mission to assimilate us all into freedom. Adults understand the world is dangerous, adults understand that, as Urdick says, the dark side must be worked. Adults understand that the way to confront unmitigated and unrelenting and irredeemable evil is to be more unmitigatingly, unrelentingly, irredeemably evil than them. If freedom falls victim in battle for freedom, so be it: in the battle for freedom freedom is irrelevant. What good are your liberties if you have no liberties? If you have no liberties as we protect your liberties you should be grateful, you puny treasonous Liberal child. You will be assimilated in any case.

Besides, your President:

assures you that no laws were broken, no one's civil liberties violated, and no personal information gathered is being permanently stored against you.

Sleep tight, Child.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

More later. But....

Landon Donovan's well-earned reputation as a choker was always deserved, but now has been etched into granite. In the 35th minute McBride headed a pass right onto the on-rushing Donovan, and he gacks it wide by yards. In 80th minute he takes a free kick from a dangerous spot, off the corner of the penalty box, and gacks it wide and high by 20 feet each. In 89th minute he tracks down loose ball right of box. All the effing room in the world. He runs into box, isn't challenged for seconds, has shooting lane, has passing lane, he won't fucking do either. Finally he lays it off to Benny who receives the ball so late all he can do is weakly whiff at the ball. Watch Donovan come score two for Galaxy v DCU in RFK this August 26. The choker.

Much will be made of the horrible, simply horrible PK awarded to Ghana in first half stoppage. (The Guardian is already mocking the ref Merk, not only for the PK but for carding Essien out of Ghana's game v Brazil.) Yet the US came out in 2nd half and dominated possession and play until, well until Donovan gacked that great opportunity in 89th minute; at that point it became clear that they might pull one back for a tie, but two weren't coming. Arena pressed the offense as he had to, taking out defender Cherundelo for striker Johnson (who did nothing - why not Ching if the plan is crosses?) and attacking MF Convey for the more defensive MF Lewis. McBride struck post, Onyewu headed over bar. But the PK meant the US had to score three to go through, and the US cannot score three.

Both goals came on defensive goofs, Beasley poking a ball between a bunch of defenders and crossing beautifully (yes, I admit it) to Dempsey who buried it. Reyna was stripped one on one. Horrible, just horrible. A great finish by Draman, but just horrible by Reyna, who surely has played his last international of any importance.

PK or no, a just result in terms of who goes through. Ghana is better. By five points. More later.

See? More

One last thought on the PK: regardless of whether the US would have won or lost, what suffered
as a result of the PK was the game itself. Think of the energy of a second half started 1-1 with both teams aware that Italy was going to go eliminate the Czechs. Think of the urgency. Maybe Ghana wins anyway, maybe it ends up in tie. But that dreadful PK call took that away. That could have been something really wonderful.

See? More Yet

Here's the latest, updated WaPo article about the game, with Arena quotes, including his statement, when asked, would you want to coach another WC if given a chance: "If you ask me now, probably not."

Here are the player rankings as judged by Soccer America:
(1=low; 5=average; 10=high)
6 Kasey Keller (Borussia M’Gladbach/GER, 36/96)
5 Steve Cherundolo (Hannover 96/GER, 27/ 38)
5 Oguchi Onyewu (Standard de Liege/BEL, 24/17)
6 Jimmy Conrad (Kansas City Wizards, 29/17)
5 Carlos Bocanegra (Fulham/ENG, 27/42)
6 Clint Dempsey (New England Revolution, 23/23)
5 Eddie Lewis (Leeds/ENG, 32/72)
4 Claudio Reyna (Man. City/ENG, 32/113)
5 DaMarcus Beasley (PSV/NED, 24/61)
3 Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy, 24/84)
4 Brian McBride (Fulham/ENG, 34/95)
5 Ben Olsen (Kansas City Wizards, 29/35) (bdr asks, Um, what's wrong with this line?)
5 Bobby Convey (Reading/ENG, 23/42)
3 Eddie Johnson (Kansas City Wizards, 22/20)
Quiet Side has pulled me aside and scolded me for harshing on Landon Donovan. That would be the Landon Donovan with the grade of 3 up above. I'm going to Dono-vent here and now and be done with it.

I'm not assigning all blame to Donovan, let me be clear: this is not scapegoating. Donovan wasn't responsible for Koller's header or Mastroeni's tackle or Reyna's defensive hari-kari.

Donovan had three clear chances to either score or set up a goal. None were sitters, none were gimmes, but on all three occasions he NEVER MADE THE KEEPER MAKE A SAVE. Maybe a Ronaldinho doesn't score on any of them either, but at least on one of the three he makes the keeper make at the very least an ordinary save. Donovan yakked each of them, terribly.

Maybe Donovan never asked to become Mr American Soccer and maybe his soccer goals and personal goals really are satisfied by living and playing in California and maybe he has the type of personality that, for lack of a better term, stagefrights at crucial and pressurized moments, and if that's the case then he is only partially responsible for gacking on his shoes not only today but at other moments in his soccer career. Since 2002 the USMNT offense has been created and designed to maximize the skills of Landon Donovan, to get the ball on his foot as often as possible in dangerous positions, and they did this fully aware of his proclivity to disappear once a certain level of pressure is reached. Perhaps there were no better options, as a quick glance at the graded players above proves.

I'll stop on Donovan with this update. I just hope, as whatever braintrust digs through the wreckage of this WC and the USMNT, that after the autopsy, as they move forward towards the 2010 qualifiers, that if Donovan is part of that future they don't make him the focal component. I suspect he'll play better as an afterthought complementary player rather than the posterboy of American soccer and the crux of the American offense. That we know he can't do.

Well, that talk here about Filomeno yesterday? Nevermind. Though if Moreno is seriously hurt, United is suddenly seriously short of strikers. When Jaime took a spill in the first half and sprawled in pain it looked like back spasms, so when he went down again in the 2nd I thought it might be back problems again, but the Post is reporting leg issues. If he has to miss games, and Eskandarian's knee is a problem, and Filomeno is flubbing first touches at Nuevo Chicago, and Jamil Walker is coming off injury, who plays up top?

It was a game of missed sitters for both teams. Mediate had a wide open net at six minutes but botched the volley and Adu was set brilliantly at the top of the box at 16 and he promptly kicked the ball 20 feet over the top. Perkins did well on a few tough saves, but really, Chicago gacked some good opportunities. Nowak saw and swapped out Gomez for Wilson at 70 and DCU went to straight four man back line.

Gros seemed re-gassed and Carroll was quietly good and Simms was justly rewarded with his screamer: he's filled in nicely for Olsen and has given Nowak an interesting dilemma once Ben returns. But the offense again struggled for a second goal - off the top of my head I don't recall many dangerous situations created by United in the second half. And it was an oddly flat game, workmanlike, but a mid-season midweek feel to a mid-season midweek game. Crowd was flat too.

But what's important: three points.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


More Evangelicals here. I'm telling you, I think something really interesting is happening here.

DCU at home tonight v Fire, the first time they've played since Chicago run up and down and in and out and embarrassed the bejeebers out of a dismal United 4-0 in last year's playoffs. There's more to play for then revenge. Throwing away four points in the last two games should be enough motivation.

DCU needs six out of six points this week at home. I know, it's a long season, and I'm sure some are sick of hearing me harp on winning the Supporters Cup, but here I go again: I'll talk more about this after the USMNT finishes its WC adventure, but the future of US soccer, both club and country, depends on both playing more internationals in more countries where soccer really is king. Success is winning the MLS Cup. Grand success is winning an international tournament.

Filomeno gets another chance. I read and read and hear and hear that he's a practice wonderstriker, and United has $$$ed him rather substantially by MLS standards, but he's got to start showing up big in games. I watch him, and it seems to me he lacks a decent first touch, which might explain why he practices better than he plays in games, the pace and urgency missing in practice.

Post reports that #7 (no, not the now #7, the above mentioned Lucio)

is working out with United this week in his Blackburn offseason (and is getting married in Minnesota over the weekend). Hopefully they'll bring him out for us to shout greetings tonight.

I have an extra ticket for tonight: anyone interested who knows the private email or phone # give a holler.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Tuesday Unaarghing

Have some music:

The name, the name. What to think about the name? But something really interesting is going on here:

* * * * *

I know I've posted this before, but this past Thursday I was literally on a highway to Rochester Minnesota. And the poem is lovely, an antidote to aargh.


by James Wright

Just off the highway to Rochester, Minnesota,
Twilight bounds softly forth onto the grass.
And the eyes of those two Indian ponies
Darken with kindness.
They have come gladly out of the willows
To welcome my friend and me.
We step over the barbed wire into the pasture
Where they have been grazing all day, alone.
They ripple tensely, they can hardly contain their happiness
That we have come.
They bow shyly as wet swans. They love each other.
There is no loneliness like theirs.
At home once more,
They begin munching the young tufts of spring in the darkness.
I would like to hold the slenderer one in my arms,
For she has walked over to me
And nuzzled my left hand.
She is black and white,
Her mane falls wild on her forehead,
And the light breeze moves me to caress her long ear
That is delicate as the skin over a girl's wrist.
Suddenly I realize
That if I stepped out of my body I would break
Into blossom.

Torturing Schizophrenics

Ron Suskind's new book, The One Percent Doctrine, is reviewed in today's Washington Post. You only thought you were being ruled by children:

One example out of many comes in Ron Suskind's gripping narrative of what the White House has celebrated as one of the war's major victories: the capture of Abu Zubaydah in Pakistan in March 2002. Described as al-Qaeda's chief of operations even after U.S. and Pakistani forces kicked down his door in Faisalabad, the Saudi-born jihadist was the first al-Qaeda detainee to be shipped to a secret prison abroad. Suskind shatters the official story line here.

Abu Zubaydah, his captors discovered, turned out to be mentally ill and nothing like the pivotal figure they supposed him to be. CIA and FBI analysts, poring over a diary he kept for more than a decade, found entries "in the voice of three people: Hani 1, Hani 2, and Hani 3" -- a boy, a young man and a middle-aged alter ego. All three recorded in numbing detail "what people ate, or wore, or trifling things they said." Dan Coleman, then the FBI's top al-Qaeda analyst, told a senior bureau official, "This guy is insane, certifiable, split personality."

Abu Zubaydah also appeared to know nothing about terrorist operations; rather, he was al-Qaeda's go-to guy for minor logistics -- travel for wives and children and the like. That judgment was "echoed at the top of CIA and was, of course, briefed to the President and Vice President," Suskind writes. And yet somehow, in a speech delivered two weeks later, President Bush portrayed Abu Zubaydah as "one of the top operatives plotting and planning death and destruction on the United States." And over the months to come, under White House and Justice Department direction, the CIA would make him its first test subject for harsh interrogation techniques.

Digby the other day asked about the enduring pignut meme of Liberals as dope-addled college idealists and Conservatives as grown-ups in American political discourse, Liberals hankering after the world as it should be and Conservatives dealing with the world as it "is." A concurrent pignut meme is that Liberals are pointy-headed intellectuals who don't know "how the world works." Think about those when you read this:
"The One Percent Doctrine" takes its title from an episode in late November 2001. Amid fears of a "second wave" attack after 9/11, Tenet laid out for Vice President Cheney and national security adviser Condoleezza Rice a stunning trove of new intelligence, much of which Suskind reveals for the first time: Two Pakistani scientists who previously offered to help Libya build a nuclear bomb were known to have met with Osama bin Laden. (Later, Suskind reports, the U.S. government would discover that bin Laden asked pointedly what his next steps should be if he already possessed enriched uranium.) Cheney, by Suskind's account, had been grappling with how to think about "a low-probability, high-impact event." By the time the briefing was over, he had his answer: "If there's a one percent chance that Pakistani scientists are helping al Qaeda build or develop a nuclear weapon, we have to treat it as a certainty in terms of our response."

This "Cheney Doctrine" let Bush evade analytic debate, Suskind writes, and "rely on impulse and improvisation to a degree that was without precedent for a modern president." But that approach constricted the mission of the intelligence and counterterrorism professionals whose point of view dominates this book. Many of them came to believe, Suskind reports, that "their jobs were not to help shape policy, but to affirm it." (Some of them nicknamed Cheney "Edgar," as in Edgar Bergen -- casting the president as the ventriloquist's dummy.)
That's mature. So's this:
The book's opening anecdote tells of an unnamed CIA briefer who flew to Bush's Texas ranch during the scary summer of 2001, amid a flurry of reports of a pending al-Qaeda attack, to call the president's attention personally to the now-famous Aug. 6, 2001, memo titled "Bin Ladin Determined to Strike in US." Bush reportedly heard the briefer out and replied: "All right. You've covered your ass, now."
And this is one president who knows a thing or gazillion about covering one's ass. Still, they have a certified mad Arab in custody, void of actionable intelligence; what'a a president to do?

Which brings us back to the unbalanced Abu Zubaydah. "I said he was important," Bush reportedly told Tenet at one of their daily meetings. "You're not going to let me lose face on this, are you?" "No sir, Mr. President," Tenet replied. Bush "was fixated on how to get Zubaydah to tell us the truth," Suskind writes, and he asked one briefer, "Do some of these harsh methods really work?" Interrogators did their best to find out, Suskind reports. They strapped Abu Zubaydah to a water-board, which reproduces the agony of drowning. They threatened him with certain death. They withheld medication. They bombarded him with deafening noise and harsh lights, depriving him of sleep. Under that duress, he began to speak of plots of every variety -- against shopping malls, banks, supermarkets, water systems, nuclear plants, apartment buildings, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty. With each new tale, "thousands of uniformed men and women raced in a panic to each . . . target." And so, Suskind writes, "the United States would torture a mentally disturbed man and then leap, screaming, at every word he uttered."

"You're not going to let me lose face on this, are you?" Hell no! We'll torture the mad man for info we know he doesn't have to save the face of the president.

Assholes. Here is the Conservative world view: the world is full of assholes, and the only way to win is to be a bigger, badder asshole than all the other assholes. If there's a one percent chance that we won't be the biggest, baddest asshole, then all and everything is permitted - in the "real" world - to prevent that happening.

So leave the business of running the real world to the adults:

and you Liberal children run along to your tofu-eggsalad sandwiches and yoga classes and yammer about world peace. Leave the ruination of the world to the grown-ups.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Our Plan to Destroy America

My policy is not to respond to trolls individually for the most obvious of reasons, but the new acquisition of a particularly dipshitious troll at BoB who calls himself Bambi

in conjunction with the smugly stated pronouncements of Karl Rove that the Republicans plan to employ the full McCarthy in this fall's elections, accusing all who vote for anyone unacceptable to pigs and their heroes in the 101st Fighting Keyboarders of wanting, nay advocating, nay actively plotting the destruction of everything American, prompts me to respond.

They got me.

I just got off the phone with my al-Q boyees in Akron, activating that sleeper cell, and instructed them to commence destroying America. (I bought the phone at a 7/11 in XXXville, crunching it beneath my tires after calling in the two word code for.... EVIL! Sure hope the NSA wasn't illegally listening in.) They are to start with my family, my in-laws first (selfish bastige that I am), then my brothers, my father and mother, then on to cousins first, once-removed, and second. I've given them detailed blueprints of my daughter's school so that they know exactly where the natural gaslines enter the building, and when all the kids are gathered together in the cafeteria for lunch, KA-BLOEY! My wife, another Liberal, is in on the plot. We'll miss our daughter, but destroying freedom and the American way of life must, to a true Liberal, take precedence.

More later. I've got to make a speech to a group of fifth graders advocating prodigious and unprotected rutting before hurrying off to release nerve gas into tonight's rush hour subway. First things first though - the muezzin is calling me to prayer. Allahu Akbar.

Oh, photo via Poor Man via, um, Hitler Cats