Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Yea, What He Said

"One accusation you can't throw at me is that I've always done my best." - Alan Shearer

"I would like to have Brooklyn christened but I'm not sure which religion yet." - David Beckham

"I didn't study; I live. You can't study these things; life teaches them to you. You don't find them in a book. I've read a lot of Socrates on page three of the Sun." - Eric Cantona

"I used to go missing a lot - Miss Canada, Miss United Kingdom, Miss Germany." - George Best

"The more time you have, the more mistakes you will make." -Ruud Gullit

"Italy cannot beat you but you can lose to Italy." - Johan Cruijff

"International football is the continuation of war by other means." - George Orwell

Monday, January 29, 2007

Ahead of the Curve

This is classic. Courtesy of Deadspin, NFLShop.com has released a highlight video for the team that won this years Super Bowl. Who cares that it hasn't happened yet...pick your team and the video is there.

Behind The Curve

Wow. I travel for a day and have to work in an office and I am out of the loop fast. Check it out.

There's a Cover There Somewhere...

There's a great CD mix cover here somewhere, it's just waiting for discovery and as I assemble my January mix huddled under a hotel blanket in Jersey snow flurries working on 4 hours of sleep, watching 24 after 8 hours of design sessions...I am convinced I am right. What do you think?

While I am procrastinating on the January mix, you can go over and check out Cool Hands choices for the month. The mix is called Jesus Crossed the Rio Grande and has some interesting looking picks. As soon as All Peers gets a bead on it I'll be checking it out.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

FA Cup Weekend

We've enjoyed a part of the weekend cheering on impotent giant killers in the FA Cup. For non-soccer readers, the FA Cup is the oldest Football competition in the world, with its roots in 1871-1872. In true democratic fashion, all teams in the top 4 leagues of English soccer get to compete against each other in a random draw knock out competition. It sets up the inevitable chances for giant killing throughout the competition. 687 teams signed up for the 2006-2007 tournament.

We are halfway through the Chelsea vs. Nottingham Forest game today which had the potential to be one of the biggest upsets in FA Cup history until the opening whistle blew and 8 minutes later the first goal hit the old onion bag.

  • If you played for Forest, would you have asked for an autograph before the game? No doubt.
  • If you played for Forest, whose jersey would you try to get at the end of the game? I would take Essien with my second choice being Drogba.
  • Gotta love Petr Čech's head gear.
Three quotes that show the color of English commentary
  • "Not sure what was in his mind on that one"
  • "Firmly shuts the door in his face"
  • "That has surely expunged all hope from Forest"
But seriously
  • Watching Blackburn drum Luton yesterday I couldn't help but notice that the main difference between the two teams was how Blackburn manhandled the Luton players. They were almost like men amongst boys...
  • Nottingham Forest really needed to come up with a better strategy in the first half than clearing the ball down field to the Chelsea defense and bracing themselves for the next attack. As I watch the second half, I have actually seen them try to pass the ball. Good idea. I think they actually will have deserved at least one goal in the end.
  • It's fascinating that the Chelsea fans spend a good portion of the game singing the Team Manager's name during the match.
  • Please, please, please burn this image of Condee off my retina...

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Tuba, Guitar, a 1922 marching bass drum and 2 Tap Dancers

" Choke on my Hummer farts you miniscule, fuel-efficient pods of inferiority."

Can these ingredients add up to a band? It appears so. I am still trying to figure out just how much I like this but I offer it up to you so that you can decide as well. The band's name is The Born Again Floozies from Indianapolis, Indiana (go Colts!) and they define themselves as a Gypsy sidewalk trio. There is no doubt that this sound is really quite unique and a little out there. The vocals in the song Floozy Revival/Live it Up Now! (brought to you by Culpepper Log) consists of excerpts from a vintage late 60s Jimmy Swaggart sermon. And it works, in my mind...almost. I do think there is something missing from this particular song...it seems to be continually on the edge of a groove, but them stumbles for me.

Better though, is this song found on the latest Paste Sampler CD. The name of the song is I Used To Play The Euphonium and right from the start you know you are in for something unique and special. Whistles, drums, the tap dancer kicking off and a euphonium. This track is only up for the next 7 days so get it fast.

Still not tempted? Try this cover of the AC/DC song Highway to Hell. I know that will get at least one person's attention.

The Born Again Floozies Official Website
The Born Again Floozies My Space Page (where you can stream the song called Small P*&#s Compensation Vehicle)

Speaking of Dumb Business Moves

Speaking of dumb business moves, it looks like the MLS just made my list. This crap is just going to make me dislike one of the world's best players that I used to be excited about watching play in our domestic league. A reality show with Beckham? Very unfortunate.

Don't be shy about pulling something you like out of the trash...

I've been lazily scrolling through CNN Money's 101 Dumbest Moments in Business when I need a mental break from work today. This one was just a little too priceless to keep to myself.

"In July, bankrupt Northwest Airlines begins laying off thousands of ground workers, but not before issuing some of them a handy guide, "101 Ways to Save Money."

The advice includes dumpster diving ("Don't be shy about pulling something you like out of the trash"), making your own baby food, shredding old newspapers for use as cat litter, and taking walks in the woods as a low-cost dating alternative."

I think if you were looking to trigger people going postal, this would hit the nail on the head. I cannot believe that anyone in their right mind would permit this to be published to employees. Wow.

Other items on the list from NWA:
1. Don't be shy about pulling something you like out of the trash.
2. Move to a less expensive place to live.
3. Trade down your car for a less expensive one.
4. Use old newspapers for cat litter.
5. Cut the kids hair yourself.
6. Buy spare parts for your car at the junkyard.
7. Take a shorter shower.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Update on The Fugees

So the Fugees story must have caught the eye of a lot of people. Universal Pictures is making a film and evidently donating $500,000 to build a field. Awesome. I wonder who is going to play the mayor who wouldn't let the kids play. I am voting for Gary Oldman.

Link to The Offside post where I heard the news first.

When the seagulls follow the trawler...

"When the seagulls follow the trawler, it's because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea"

It's been a while since Eric was on our radar but he reappeared today courtesy of a rugby player who took it upon himself to leave the field of play mid-game and assault a fan. Despite the claims by A Kick in the Grass ( Manchester United Blog), this comes no where close to the fun that is Eric Cantona.

For those of you new to Eric, all you need to know is this:

Yes. That is a soccer player catapulting himself into the stands and kung-fu kicking an opposition supporter. When asked why he did this, his response to the press was the quote in the header of this post. I love this story. I love the fact that Nike used Eric in their Joga Bonito spots. I love this guy's face in the stands.

And yes, I have discussed this before back when we all came to the realization regarding why Zidane lost his cool. Click here to find out the real reason.

All that being said, the appearance of Cantona's name on my RSS feed led me to want to relive the story a little and throw out a great gift idea for any of you soccer fanatics out there. Check out the t-shirt below which is available on philosophyfootball.com (sports outfitters of intellectual distinction).

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

A Period of Firsts

We seem to be in a period of a "firsts." I was reminded tonight during the State of the Union speech, that this was the first State of the Union introduction (the second introduction in the program) ever announced by a woman as the Speaker of the House. We have, for the fist time in 41 years, not just one but two black football coaches in the Super Bowl. Looking ahead (and perhaps too far) there appears to be a decent chance that in a couple years, we may have our first woman or black president.

Reflecting on this, I had a couple interesting exchanges with my wife that I felt like sharing.
  • I asked my wife if she felt some sort of identification or pride when she thinks about Nancy Pelosi. Her first reaction was 'no' but this was followed by the caveat that she felt the reason that identification was not there had more to do with a lack of appreciation of that role.
  • I asked my wife if she would feel any identification or pride in womankind if a woman was elected president. "Hell yea" was the answer.
  • At this point, Bush turned around and declared how honored he was to be the first President of the United States ever introduced by a female speaker of the house. At this point, my wife, with a beaming smile says, "Well that was pretty cool." I think that at that point, she felt that identification/pride.
  • I am not black and am not a woman. It occurs to me that I will probably never feel that type of emotion ever. Interesting. Well, it's interesting to me at least.
One initial thought on the State of the Union: No matter what side of the aisle you're on, you have to admit that Condoleeza looked rather sinister in some of those scenes when the camera showed her. Scary.

Reyna is Coming Home

Well, probably coming home. Most likely to play for his old coach. Not quite sure why this isn't as big as the Beckham story.

If you're like me...

...you are pretty excited about the rumors regarding Onyewu heading to Chelsea. SI.com released an article on it yesterday. Rumors abound and continue to grow on the web. Chelsea continues to struggle in the back. Their deal with Ben Haim fell through. Rumors get louder...

An American on the starting line for one of the best teams in the world? That would be a coup.

Picking on the Patriots

Well, I made it to Tuesday before I finally gave in. I hope this doesn't ruin the the Colts' karma. And truly, I think I could have completely refrained from making fun of the Patriots at all but I stumbled on this picture of Robert Kraft, CEO and chairman of the New England Patriots on Deadspin yesterday. Enough said.

My apologies to some girl on the cape.

Monday, January 22, 2007

The Soccer People

"It’s like they’re all from my own country...They’re my brothers."

"Ms. Mufleh made a point never to ask her players about their pasts. On the soccer field, she felt, refugees should leave that behind."

The NYT has an excellent article online about a town named Clarkston, GA, and more specifically, a soccer team in that town. More than half of the town's population are refugees from all over the world. In fact, according to the article, "From 1996 to 2001, more than 19,000 refugees from around the world resettled in Georgia, many in Clarkston and surrounding DeKalb County." As you can imagine hot spots of tension have risen in this community. Sadly enough, one of these hot spots has been soccer.

The article tells the story of a soccer team called the Fugees (short for Refugees), its struggles on and off the field, the power of a game and the bond of teamwork. There are disturbing anecdotes and moments that I found really moving. The primary conflict presented in the article is related to the lack of a home field for the team.

According to the article, as of early January, the coach was using Google Earth to find green spaces in her town where her team might practice. Why? Because the town/mayor has decreed that there will be no more soccer in the town park. "There will be nothing but baseball and football down there as long as I am mayor..." The article shows some signs of hope for the mayor at times, with the Fugees being granted 6 months in the town park. However, by the end of the article, they are without a home again.

On the flip side, the article has its moments of hope and redemption. The Fugees have banded together and the bond of the team is strong. You learn how they prevail over some of their hardships and still struggle with others. I highly recommend the multi-media portion. You will get to listen to the reporter, the coach, a player's mother and at some points the players themselves. And since the article is 8 pages long, I am guessing some of you might find the multi-media portion may be an alternative for some.

Access the multi-media presentation here. Highly recommended.

You can read the article here (also highly recommended).

Kudos to World Football Commentaries by Steve Amoia for pointing this great story out.

...on the Subject of Donovan

Some strong opinions came out regarding Donovan's future on the US MNT as a result of the recap posted regarding the Denmark game. Thus, I thought I would post an observation about the pre-game interview with Bradley prior to the game (which is available for your viewing pleasure here, watch the video labeled "...Preview from Carson").

When asked what players have made the best impression so far during the first part of camp, Bradley:
  • Mentions two veterans: Conrad and Mastroeni.
  • Mentions two younger players: Cooper and Bornstein.
Out of this list, one was captain and two were goal scorers. No mention of Landon. I would say that he has yet to earn his stripes with Bob.

The Cult of Drogba

Didier Drogba is one of the front runners for the top players in the EPL this season. Unfortunately, if Manchester United continues to lead the league, I am worried that Ronaldo will take the honors. Drogba routinely rips up the pitch and scores fantastic goals in the EPL. His leadership of the Les Éléphants (the Ivory Coast national team) this past year helped lead to an explosion of a new dance craze in the Côte d'Ivoire. The dance craze and music that has grown to support it is known as Drogbacité, based somewhat on Drogba's moves on the pitch. You can go here to read more about the cult of Drogba as well as even download a mp3 from a new Drogbacité compilation called Boucantier.

Here's one of his more recent, spectacular goals. This has got to be about a 30-35 yard volley.

The Dog Dilemma

In his MMQB article today, Peter King has a small anecdote regarding Drew Brees and his outlook on being a responsible "doggy citizen." I agree with the basic message and the basic premise that if your dog defecates somewhere, you should pick it up. I will say that it is slightly unfortunate that this is apparently an item of note. It should be standard behavior, like shutting off your cellphone in a movie theater...although people can't seem to even get that right yet.

The timing of this MMQB piece is serendipitous in that it has direct relevance on a specific event that occurred yesterday. In the midst of watching the Saints spoil the movie ending, I noticed a dog in our backyard. I love dogs. So I opened the door to see if I could get meet our visitor. Upon opening the door, I noticed that the dog was defecating in our backyard. So I started yelling. Simultaneously, two blocks away I hear someone else yelling, apparently trying to find out where their leash-less dog was. They had no idea that their dog was defecating on my lawn. I was then stuck with the dog dilemma. Should I have:

1. Assumed that they were responsible and considerate doggy citizens and that they would track down the dog and what it left behind?
2. Assumed that they were inconsiderate, grabbed a plastic bag and informed them where their dog took care of business? Not leave them alone until they came and picked it up?
3. Picked up the crap, followed them home, and left in on their front porch? Possibly on fire...

Sunday, January 21, 2007

In Your Face Advertising

Two caveats:
1. I think I first found this on The Offside and have since seen it on ESPN. However, since I know some of my readers don't dig around some of these same soccer forums, I am sharing it here.
2. I don't want to make light of this (too much), because some people got hurt. However, everyone is ok now (I made sure to check before I posted this).

That said. Watch this video. A windstorm strikes a South African soccer game and literally rips the advertisements that line the side of the field off the ground and across the pitch. This is unreal. Hope they iron this one out before 2010. Here's the link to the club's press release.


That game was awesome. Epic. On the edge of my seat spectacular.

Finally, a CNN breaking news alert I like.

More on Spotlight Simms

Jim Nantz called out Phil Simms on the CBS broadcast tonight, pointing out to all of America that Phil "Spotlight" Simms hides the fact that he takes off his glasses before the camera shows him. So far, that's the only bright spot in American football today (as the Patriots just returned a Manning pass for a touchdown).

"...there is nothing pretty about an pasty Englishman..."

One of the more intelligent, thought provoking pieces (ignoring the grammatical error in the title of this post) on the US vs. Denmark game that I have read this weekend is over here at YA. It is peppered with a couple gems of humor.

"Why Mapp hasn't appeared on any European radar is a mystery, but the young midfielder needs to make a move to Europe so he can take advantage of the rock-star like existence European soccer players enjoy before he goes bald."

"Finally, no matter how buff Kenny Cooper is, there is nothing pretty about an pasty Englishman taking off his shirt."

Simms Spotlight

I find it annoying that the Simms Spotlight on CBS has an old clip of Phil. There is something a little too egocentric about that. Maybe I am just bitter that the Saints lost. Go Colts.

Arsenal tops Man Utd

In good sports news today, Arsenal topped Manchester United 2-1 in a back and forth game. Arsenal was down most of the second half until Van Persie converted Rosicky's cross in the 83rd minute to tie it up. Prior to that, Rooney broke his long goalless streak (slightly shorter than Donovan's) with a can't miss diving header off of a great run from Evra. The pace of this game never slowed as stoppage time entered 4 minutes and Henry put the icing on the cake for Arsenal about 93 minutes into it. Amazing finish for Arsenal.
  • Can the British announcer on that FSC broadcast not pronounce Rosicky's name right? Or does this guy know something I don't?
  • Lehmann had an awesome game.
  • Not a fan of the blue Man U kits.
In bad sports news, Van Persie broke his metatarsal scoring the goal to tie it up. Oh, and the Saints lost.

Update: Van Persie may have pulled a Grammatica if you believe what Arsène Wenger has to say: "We have a big worry with Robin van Persie on his ankle. He has an x-ray now and if we have any news I will inform you. It's not the same at all it's a completely different injury [sustained] when he celebrated the goal."

Saturday, January 20, 2007

US vs. Denmark Recap

Bob Bradley steered his boys to a 3-1 victory over Denmark today. Taking into consideration that this was the first time that this group played on the field together, you have to be pretty pleased with the result. We held the ball pretty well in midfield, were a bit tentative and unsure in the back and had a tough time cracking the Danish defense. Well, we had a tough time until the second half that is. 4 players had their first caps ever. 2 of them scored. The future may look a little bright...

Thoughts on individual performances:

Broadcasting Crew:
1. Eric Wynalda: Managed to offend the entire country of Norway, Ricardo Clark, and Landon Donovan. Good day for Eric.
2. Bruce Arena: Apparently a little bitter at US Soccer but very vocal in his support of Bradley during the broadcast.
3. Rob Stone: Really likes the word interim. If I have to hear that Bradley is the interim head coach one more time I might just puke.

1. Bornstein, Jonathan: Made his debut at left back, nutmegged only once, beat a few more times, scored the go-ahead goal. Welcome to the big leagues. I think this guy is here to stay.
2. Albright, Chris: Poor clearance led to only goal against US. Continually beat on the wing. Hair
is getting tiresome. Not Chris' best showing.
3. Namoff, Bryan: Came in late. No major impact.
4. Johnson, Eddie: Did he even break a sweat? Seriously, I don't know where the fire or work effort is in this guy. Needs to change his on field demeanor and presence before I get behind him.
5. Donovan, Landon: Maybe he is a pansy? He gets hit once in the second half and disappears for 30 minutes. Had some moments of hope but he is far from the leader people hope him to be. Arena had some pretty candid criticisms. The PK he put in should have been saved. Appears to possibly have major confidence issues as evidenced by a very long prayer before that PK.
6. Jaqua, Nate: I like Nate but he didn't do much this game. Looked potentially really dangerous in the air and had a good work rate. Needs to find ways to get involved.
7. Conrad, Jimmy: Steady organization in the back with the armband on. I love watching his feet move when he defends. Great back story too.
8. Clark, Ricardo: I need more presence out of my center mids. I've seen him do it in the MLS and am hoping he will find more comfort as he plays.
9. Beckerman, Kyle: Took a pretty decent shot toward the end of the game. Didn't play all that much to make much of an impact. Are we ready for another dreadlocked player? Didn't they retire that when Cobi finally didn't get asked back? Are we in store for another glamour shot like you see to the right?
10. Rolfe, Chris: Great work ethic. Involved in setup of PK that gave us our first goal. Should think of trying facial hair so that he looks older than 13. Had some strong creative moments and is showing promise.
11. Pearce, Heath: Came in towards the last quarter. Sets up an assist. Solid defense. Attacked from the back. I would like to see some more of him.
12. Cooper, Kenny: He's a giant. And he showed great composure on his breakaway. Good calm finish. Let's get this man some more playing time.
13. Mapp, Justin: Game changer. Came in the second half and decided to dribble around some Danes and set up Bornstein's goal. I can see him becoming a great attacking midfielder for us.
14. Boswell, Bobby: Had some nervous moments but overall had a strong game defensively. Needs to improve his distribution.
15. Reis, Matt: I like my goalies more confident and I just felt like he seemed nervous. Could he have stopped that header that went in?
16. Mastroeni, Pablo: Solid in the middle. Poor decision on the yellow card tackle from behind. He was a steady presence in the center and helped shore up some sketchy moments throughout.

Bob Bradley: Needs to be careful coming off the bench after we score, he almost bit it. Gets a great result and makes his first strong statement that the "interim" approach should not stick.


"Is graffiti art or vandalism?: That word has a lot of negative connotations and it alienates people, so no, I don't like to use the word 'art' at all."

Brought to you by Bansky.

"When explaining yourself to the Police its worth being as reasonable as possible. Graffiti writers are not real villains. I am always reminded of this by real villains who consider the idea of breaking in someplace, not stealing anything and then leaving behind a painting of your name in four foot high letters the most retarded thing they ever heard of."

"The time of getting fame for your name on its own is over. Artwork that is only about wanting to be famous will never make you famous. Any fame is a by-product of making something that means something. You don't go to a restaurant and order a meal because you want to have a shit."

Friday, January 19, 2007

Blogging Tools & Hosts

I am thinking of changing blogging tools and am researching the following list (subject to change and additions):
Obviously, I am just starting the research; 3 of these 4 are from six apart. My basic criteria is that it needs to be free, easy to use, and have the ability to apply a lot of custom templates/plug-ins with little effort. Just because I work with information technology doesn't mean I want to spend a lot of it related to this hobby.

This list could grow if I am open to finding my own host. Which, I would be willing to do if the cost was minimal or free.

So. While I am trying to find some free time to research this, if anyone out there has thoughts on blogger alternatives (that require or do not require hosting options), I would love to hear them. At the moment (not based on many facts yet), I would say that I am thinking that I may try out WordPress and see what I think...

US vs. Denmark

Tomorrow! First game in the Bradley era! Check it out at 2 PM PST on ESPN2.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

The Super Bowl Shuffle?

"There's no one here that does it like me, my Super Bowl Shuffle will set you free."
- The 1985 Chicago Bears

"We still believe."
- The Lightning Seeds

Who said the Super Bowl Shuffle was not a good song? If you want to see the equivalent for football fans in the rest of the world, check this video out. You may just find yourself wishing to hear Perry bust out with a rap. There must be some sort of tradition where Denmark teams choose to record horrible World Cup songs in the studio (skip to the 2 minute mark for the 80's pain).

Of course, not all soccer songs suck like the Bears. In fact, this tune from the Lightning Seeds in 1998 might be in my list of top songs for the year...just for the sheer pleasure of singing along with thousands of hoodlums.

And of course, less you feel left out as an American football fan.

This post inspired by a new bookmark in my soccer blog folder, Who Ate All the Pies. Thanks.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The Rising Tide

"Don't fight a battle if you don't gain anything by winning."

The Rising Tide is written by Jeff Shaara and is the first book in a planned three part historical fiction series covering World War II. Jeff Shaara has written a number of historical novels that span from the American Revolution to World War I and this is his first foray into WWII. Shaara successfully puts the reader into the middle of North Africa, into the mind of the Desert Fox (Erwin Rommel), into the complex and 'impossible to fill' shoes of Dwight Eisenhower, and into the thick of battle with a tank gunner and a paratrooper invading Sicily.

Overall, Shaara tells the story of the North African campaign in a remarkable fashion. As a reader who feels deficient in WWII history, this story was an incredible way to dive into some of the events of this war and understand the political landscape and the personalities involved. I won't say that this book helped me understand the horror and hardship of fighting in that campaign, but it certainly gave me some insight into what it may have been like.

It has been almost one year since Blades of Blue kicked off, and in at least one area I have gone full circle as of today. Back on 2/20/2006, I had just finished reading The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara. In that inaugural post I noted how I did not consider myself to be a history lover or a big reader of historical fiction. My reading habits of the last year have proven that statement to be false. This story definitely gets put on my list of recommendations and the Shaara novels (father and son) have converted me to someone who actively looks for strong historical fiction.

Colbert on Telecom

Colbert had a great bit the other night related AT&T buying Cingular. Need a laugh? This is worth 1:22 of your time. Check it out.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Beckham Quotes

Selected Beckham Wisdom:

"My parents have been there for me, ever since I was about 7."

"Alex Ferguson is the best manager I've ever had at this level. Well, he's the only manager I've actually had at this level. But he's the best manager I've ever had"

"People don't think I've got the brains to be that clever."

"As soon as I hit the ball, I know if it's in."

Best of "I am Looking For..."

List of the most interesting search terms from this past month that have brought you, faithful reader, to this blog.
  • bud light rubber floor commercial
  • topless maids Louisiana
  • wall bangers + fat heads
  • Xanadu krewe
  • cream of broccoli
  • i hate penguins
  • viscoelastic material
  • "brother from a different mother" phrase
  • Didier Drogba Christmas ornament
It must have been a little disappointing when the person searching for topless maids in Louisiana realized that I had no real information to share.

Monday, January 15, 2007


Last Saturday the MLS announced the formation of the SuperLiga, a tournament that will pitch the best club teams in the MLS against the best club teams in Mexico. Eight teams have been chosen for this years upcoming tournament. The MLS teams are: D.C. United, FC Dallas, Los Angeles Galaxy, Houston Dynamo. The representatives from the Mexican clubs are: Club America, CF Pachuca, Monarcas Morelia and CD Guadalajara from Mexico. The participants of this round were selected, but next year's competitors will be chosen based on finishing results in their respective leads. The prize to the top club is $1M.

This news won't (and has not) made the same splash that Beckham's LA signing has made, but to me, it is just as important. Pitching our top teams against Mexico's top teams will be a big step in demonstrating how competitive the MLS has become. It will add a competitive goal to breaking into the top four of the MLS. It will give our players a chance to compete against our biggest CONCACAF rival. I don't think game locations have been announced but I am hoping for a Houston venue in at least one of the fixtures.

The next step is establishing relegation rules in the MLS. I am not holding my breath.

Sonic Temple Live

In the most recent edition of Paste Magazine there is an advertisement for the Storyville Coffee Company that was visually intriguing and thus generated a visit from me to their website. The coffee company prides itself on not over roasting their coffee beans and thus not having a strong bitter taste (which by the way, is one of the complaints that I hear most about Starbucks coffee). The site is pretty interesting and if you have some time and are interested in coffee, it is worth checking out for a few minutes. The video entitled "The Truth" is well made, tongue in cheek, and educational all at the same time.

Anyway, this is just a long winded introduction to the other concept created by the company's founders, Jon and Estelle Phelps, who created Sonic Temple Live in Ferndale, California. STL's premise is to offer high quality music and art events in a non-traditional method. Rather than compete with other theaters and nightclubs to book talent, STL patrons come for an evening's entertainment without knowing who is performing until just after the lights go out. A short film about the artist is played, and then the show starts. To top it all off, 100% of the proceeds from the ticket sales go to help funding local charities. Since STL began, every show has sold out and they are now going on the road and taking the concept to other communities. Curious? Click here to get to the website and explore the concept. There is another really well made video on this site that I recommend called "STL The Movie."

I wonder how long until they reach Lafayette...

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Request Your Bud Light Rubber Floor

The rubber floor in the Bud Light commercial is real. The flooring is made by a company in Santa Ana, California named Rubber-Cal. The rubber floor is made of their Eco-Sport Tile product which is made from 100% recycled tires. Rubber-Cal has a page dedicated to the Bud Light commercial which even details what aspects of alcohol commercials are interesting to Bud Light's target demographic. The demographic of a Bud Light drinker, as defined on Rubber-Cal's website:

"The funny and zany Bud Light ads are designed for the calorie/ health conscious age group, 20-35 years of age."

Spot on champ. Most health conscious souls can often be found chugging Bud Light while they watch the game on TV.



I thought this SNL skit poking fun at Nancy Pelosi (among other things) was pretty funny. I don't think these clips last very long on YouTube so check it out while it lasts. I love the thing she does with her eyes.

Make a Lazy Day

Having a lazy day today to make up for all of the gutter cleaning, raking, bamboo cutting, frisbee golf playing activities that occurred yesterday. A lazy day is comprised of:
  • Watching Liverpool vs. Blackburn
  • Planning on watching two football games (halfway through game 1 at the moment)
  • Surfing the internet
  • Volunteering for a local music festival (just filling out the form, not doing any work yet)
  • Talking about grocery shopping.
Above is a cool photo found on Flickr but really found initially by me via a random blog I visit called Gazpachot. I like Gazpachot because I find a lot of intriguing visual candy there. There is a lot of print on the blog as well but sometimes my attention span doesn't make it all the way through the posts. Sorry.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Fair Trade?

Posh Spice is moving to LA. She's bringing some dude name Beckham that everyone is all excited about. Ever heard of him?

So yeah...I was on a train all day and missed the onslaught of news related to the massive signing of Becks to LA. Old news at this point I guess. I am pretty optimistic about it. Are you?.

PS - Did you hear that Dempsey's work permit went through? Sweet.

By the way, when is Ronaldo coming and what small fortune do we pay for him? Heck, I'd pay a nice piece of change to see LA play NY if Ronaldo was a Red Bull.

On a personal note, I've spent the week in VA and spent today taking the train back and forth to NJ for a one day work trip. So I'm a little tired to think about optimism or the impact of a global celebrity on American soccer at this point. The fatigue is compounded by the fact that when I got back to DC I ended up at an "all you can eat" Brazilian churrascaria (steakhouse) with some friends. This is the type of place where waiters bring huge knives that are spearing filet, lamb chops, leg of lamb, ribs, rib eye, pork, chicken, sirloin, garlic crusted steaks and other meats to your table as long as you have the sign flipped to green. The restaurant is called Fogo de Chao, 5 blocks from the White House and worth every penny and artery clogging mouthful.

Eat up. We're sending our young guys over seas and taking the old guys in return. Is that a fair trade? Is it weird to say that maybe Dempsey is more exciting to watch than Beckham? Cheers.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The Tip of an Iceberg

Recently I have been spending some spare time reading responses to The Edge's latest question for 2007. "What are you optimistic about? Why?" The Edge collects responses from a series of thought leaders and innovative thinkers. Included in this list are the co-founder of Wikipedia, Nobel Prize winners in physics, and many other people with more impressive qualifications than me.

Today I took the time to read Brian Eno's response. For those of who don't know him, he's an artist, composer and music producer for bands like U2 and Paul Simon. Despite finding some typos in the response (odd), I found the following quotes pretty interesting (either in their original context, or in the case of the first one, when the context was eliminated).

"The future may be a bit more like Sweden and a bit less like America."

"...the ever-accelerating empowerment of people. The world is on the move, communicating and connecting and coalescing into influential blocks which will move power away from national governments with their short time horizons and out into vaguer, more global consensual groups."

"...that you don't need centralized top-down control to produce intelligent results."

I have, of course, asked myself what I am optimistic about and why. One of the things I have noticed is that the vast majority of the answers I have to this question instinctually occur on a personal level. As a result, I am wondering if that is a reflection of my perceived sphere of influence or simply a reflection of the fact that I am self absorbed.

When I expand my frame of reference to a local community level, I think I maintain an optimistic outlook. When I expand my frame of reference to a national level, I start to find it difficult to identify optimistic themes and in general, feel pessimistic. Approaching the question from a global perspective I drift a little back towards positive thinking but it is heavily tempered with doubt.

In general, I am struggling with my responses and reaction to this question. I am not sure why I feel that my most relevant optimistic answers cannot extend past a local level without feeling contrived or becoming crowded by some pessimism. I believe that I may be thinking about the question from a "current event" perspective as my frame of reference expands....and perhaps that is short sighted.

I need to keep thinking about this some more.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Are you a Pickle or a Penguin?

So I have evidently made my love and hate fetishes with Pickles and Penguins clear. Evidently clear enough to cause some of you to email me random pickle and penguin links. Here are two for the rest to enjoy:

Monday, January 08, 2007

"Glad I'm Not That Guy" Moment

Actual message heard in Dulles airport as I am waiting for baggage claim:

"Thomas Sands, Thomas Sands, please pick up a red courtesy phone to speak to your mother. She went to the wrong airport to pick you up."

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Reflections on a Weekend of Football

I love the playoff season but I am a little disappointed that the NY teams are out of the running. In general though, what an awesome weekend of football. Some basic observations from my time spent watching the pigskin:
  • I feel bad for Tony Romo. I was really enjoying watching him play. If the Cowboy's could have lost in any other fashion, I might buy it for a dollar.
  • The Diet Pepsi advertising company needs to be fired. Those were some really bad voice over commercials that I was subjected to.
  • The Bud Light rubber floor commercial and the horse/zebra gang playing football commercial are both still very fun to watch.
  • Even though I hate the Jacked Up series that is part of Monday Night Football (which we may be spared from during the playoffs), I seem to use that phrase when I watch games. Shame on me.
  • The Colt's defense has shown up.
  • I am going on record by stating that Armed and Famous is a bad, bad idea.
  • I used to cringe every time Pennington threw a pass because I felt like he was going to just float up a nice fat hang-time melon down field. I didn't find myself doing this too much this weekend...not until the last quarter of the game that is. Has his arm strength actually improved?
  • I'm gonna hate watching the Patriots win the Super Bowl.
  • I heard that Eli threw almost as many interceptions as Brett Favre this past season. Ugh. How long will the Giants stick with this guy? Or how long until they figure out a system within which he can thrive?
  • Players and coaches on the Colts team seem to make good commercials.

Dry Cleaning with Rod Stewart

"If life was fair, Elvis would be alive and all the impersonators would be dead."
- Johnny Carson (1925 - 2005)

Before Christmas we were at our local Albertson's late on Sunday night and there was almost no one else in the supermarket. No one else that is except for Rod Stewart. He walked in while we were checking out and the woman checking us out started freaking out about it. It was really weird and I made sure to loiter on our way out of the parking lot to get a second look. I eventually forgot about it until yesterday. We were in line at our dry cleaner and in walks Rod sporting a Liverpool jersey chatting away on his cell phone. At this point I am feeling pretty curious because I find it hard to believe that I shop at the same grocery store and use the same dry cleaner as Rod Stewart. I had to go online and find out where he lives.

Turns out, he has a mansion in FL, not Lafayette, LA. It also turns out that I am not the only one who has looked to see if this guy in Louisiana is indeed the actual Rod Stewart. Go here to see the rest of the story. Read the second to last comment (dated 11/18/2006) on the post to find out his true identity.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Fulham Partners With US Soccer

Fulham has signed an exclusive deal to hire as many US National Team players as possible and create a pseudo-US club team in the English Premier League. Already on the roster are Brian McBride and Carlos Bocanegra. Clint Dempsey is now signed and the deal is only pending a work permit. Rumors are out that Oguchi Onyewu is on the list of US players making the trip as well... In total that would make 4 US starters on the team. Sweet.

Thursday, January 04, 2007


I have this odd habit of inventing short jingles related to approaching everyday interactions with my wife. She is the eternal optimist and I consider myself a realist. This, inevitably, led her to label me as a nay-sayer. This then led to me needing to come up with an appropriate witty response. This then led to me inventing the first of said jingles: Nay-Sayer. This consists of the following lyrics:

"Nay-Sayer, Nay Saaaaaayer, likes to say nay, say nay."

It's pretty stupid really. And I just wanted to say that out loud now that she is using it against me.

Zidane on the Mind

I received two emails yesterday regarding Zidane and recently I busted out the Zidane jersey I own and started wearing it again.

If you have Zidane on your mind as well, you might want to check out this site for a new movie that has hit the streets. The concept sounds pretty interesting. I need to find out how I can get this on my Netflix queue.

"The film was made by training 17 cameras, under the supervision of acclaimed cinematographer Darius Khondji, solely on footballer Zinédine Zidane over the course of a single match between Real Madrid and Villareal. Zidane himself recounts, in voice-over, what he can and cannot remember from his matches...accompanied by a majestic score from Scottish rock heroes Mogwai...one of the finest studies of man in the workplace, an ode to the loneliness of the athlete and the poise and resilience of the human body."

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Whistle While You Work

Well, not whistle in my case, "stretch and move" is my new thing. For those of you who are not aware of my current status, I have had a mysterious "illness" for about 3 months now that started out with abdominal pains, migrated to back pains, then leg pains, then abdominal pains...you name it. Through the course of physical therapy, I have been told that this is all possibly related to having poor core strength - which may come from me sitting in an office chair for 10-12 hours a day with very little exercise except for on the weekends. In addition to the health club, physical therapy, and yoga regimen that I am adopting, I have a new work habit that I am trying out today.

Basically, I have come to the conclusion that my desk chair sucks. After about 40 minutes, my legs start to feel cramped and my leg pain starts to come back. During the "week of fun." I had no leg pains because I was always moving around. To fight this, I now have a stop watch next to my desk. Every 40 minutes it beeps and I get up and walk around, stretch, move, change positions. In addition, every time I get on the phone, I am now walking around the house. It may be hard to believe but when I get in the zone, I can sit in this chair and do nothing but work for hours on end. That needs to change.

Finally, lest you think I am a complete idiot. I have started shopping for the best ergonomic chair on the market. Let me know if you have any recommendations on chairs.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Join Me in Passing These Out

I put 25 of these in my glove box today. I can only wish I had them during Christmas shopping. Fixing the world one incompetent driver at a time...

Speaking of Good Movies...

So speaking of good movies, did anyone watch Boise State's win over Oklahoma in the Fiesta bowl the night of January 1st? Holy cow. This will go down as one of the greatest games I have ever watched. I would bullet out the list of crazy things that happened in the last 6 minutes or so but SI has already done so and since Carlee read me this paragraph, I figure I should just quote rather than plagiarize. Here is how insane this game was:

"It's one thing for a Cinderella team to upset a heavily favored opponent, but c'mon, this was ridiculous. A desperation fourth-down hook-and-lateral touchdown pass to tie the game at the end of regulation? A fourth-down receiver option touchdown pass to tie it in overtime? A do-or-die Statue of Liberty two-point conversion run to win the game? The star player proposing to the captain of the cheerleading squad after crossing the goal line?"

Have you ever seen a Statue of Liberty play? I completely followed the wrong guy. The hook and ladder play caught me totally by surprise too - next thing I know, I am screaming "Oh my God!" multiple times followed by "That was awesome!" once or twice. Insane.

Here is a video of the highlights starting with the interception (which comes right before the SI article's list of crazy events) that I thought had ended the Boise State quarterback's career. However, if you watch the next 55 seconds of this clip, I was dead wrong. Warning: this YouTube video has Jay-Z in the background rather than the announcer. I couldn't find a clip with all of the highlights like this that did not have something queer like that... Remember that all of this was in the last few minutes and the first two possessions of overtime.

The Fun is Over

With the New Year rung in, it is time to tally the score for the week of fun list that Carlee and I had all planned out. Here we go:

  1. Paint the office - COMPLETE
  2. Clean the office - COMPLETE
  3. Receive and assemble new desk for the office - COMPLETE
  4. Meet with the blind (or window dressing) consultant - COMPLETE
  5. Clean for the maid company (don't ask) - COMPLETE
  6. Our first ever visit from a maid company - COMPLETE
  7. A couple's massage (you can ask but I may not answer) - SCHEDULED for next Saturday
  8. Use up coupons to free movies that expire by the end of the year - COMPLETE
  9. Join a health club - COMPLETE
  10. Beginner's yoga for the first time - COMPLETE
  11. Physical therapy - COMPLETE
  12. Clean the "shed" in the car port - COMPLETE
  13. Meet with plumber and let him fix the leak in the guest bath - COMPLETE
  14. Paint the master bath - COMPLETE (We painted it "Pepper Spice" which upon inspection has a potentially unfortunate brown color for a bathroom wall. However, I think we may like the color despite it's similarity to actual bathroom activities.)
  15. Lower expectations and make this list shorter - FAILED (see items 16 thru 20)
  16. Install new shower head in master bath - COMPLETE
  17. Get car inspected - COMPLETE
  18. Become a wedding photographer - COMPLETE
  19. Return Christmas gifts (not yours) - COMPLETE
  20. Get sick (I now have a cold) - COMPLETE and In Progress

Fun was definitely had by all. I believe that except for lowering expectations to a more relaxing level, that the week was an overwhelming success.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Snapping in the New Year

Happy New Years everyone! Carlee and I rang in the New Year by attending a wedding of a friend of ours. We had the honor of not only attending as guests, but also as the official wedding photographers. So we busted out the new Canon XTi, borrowed another from a friend of ours, borrowed a tripod, and slung on the camera bags and went to work. What a way to attend a wedding. You get an all access pass to every pre and post wedding event.

Overall, I think we did a pretty damn good job for two free amateur wedding photographers. We took over 1300 photographs and are about to start sorting out all the good from the bad so that we can pass on a final set to the bride and groom. We will actually give them all 1300(+) but we figure that we should make a CD of the best ones as well as do some basic photo-shopping. It was a night wedding so the lighting was really tough and the flash was washing people out. I ended up moving to a manual setting with some different shutter speeds and ISO settings for the pictures in this post (all of these images are resized for easier posting and viewing).

We thought the whole thing was a pretty awesome experience and if anyone is in the market for a cheap wedding photographer, just let us know. In order from top to bottom, left to right:
  1. (Top of the Post) Ringing in the New Year with sparklers on the balcony of The Manor.
  2. The first kiss
  3. Bride and a bride's maid
  4. Couple dancing
  5. Line dancing
  6. The groom, his sister, and the groomsmen posing for fun
  7. Bride, groom, and the bride's attendants
  8. The wedding planner adjusts the bride's train as they get ready for photos. I like the movement of the train in this one.