This week, with an ahead-of-holiday workload to plow through along with the demands of a week of final rehearsals for The Memorandum, I was kept largely at bay from Cup Watching (outside of GameCast) and blogging. Me so tired. But, it's all coming together now.
Germany and Argentina really should have been a game we got to see much later in the tournament. These are pretty much the two best teams around, and it's too bad one of them, in this case Argentina, had to go home so soon. Really, I understand the way the tournament is set up and everything, but it seems to me that when things come to the round of sixteen, Fee-Fah ought to be able to see how they've got Switzerland matched up against the Ukraine and, you know, put a STOP to that nonsense.
As it is, Germany prevails in penalties, which, for my money, is always a little unsatisfying--even though, while it's happening, it's as intense as hell. Someone once told me that way back in the day, they used to just send the teams home after the end of overtime and tell them to come back tomorrow.
That said, I am totally glad that Fee-Fah has done away with with sudden-death scenarios in the extra-period. Mind you, I've nothing against sudden-death. But what I could never abide was the asinine name they gave the sudden-death periods: the Golden Goal. First of all, this is soccer--not Quidditch. Second of all, "Golden Goal" just smacks of American marketing department desperation. Some dipshitty nickname that'll roll off the tongue of the stuffed turds they have doing the television coverage. Hated it. Glad it's gone.
But I am sorry we don't have Argentina around anymore. They struggled against Mexico from time to time in the last round but really played exquisite soccer--most of the time quite lovely soccer. I'm not given to rooting on the Argentines, but there's something about this team that won me over. Mainly, they left most of the suckers from the last Cup team at home. But really I think that they did a lot less pretty-boy, wannabe-Italia posturing and just played. Riquelme was awesome, and their youth movement--all those dudes named Messi and Maxi--has put a lot of life back into their game.
Speaking of Italy, they are destroying Ukraine right now. Sigh. I'm sorry, but this Italy team is living on vapor. After beating Ghana, they've basically needed some referee help to get through and advance, from the multiple send-offs of the US game and the Czecha Republica match, to the absolute highway robbery that transpired at the end of the Australia game. Poor Socceroos! Guus Huddink hadn't even made a substitution! He was keeping them in check for extra time. Now, they get to play Ukraine. Oy. This means, at least, that Germany gets to wallop them.
Right now, Brazil, who totally beat Ghana down, to PK's credit, is the only team remaining who can prevent an all-Euro set of semifinals. Their opponent is France, who were staggering along as some winsome, ersatz version of the team they were eight years ago when they suddenly blossomed into recrudescence, beating the short pants off of Spain, who were looking for their new version of themselves to play the latest version of France and not vice versa. As it is, the predictable World Cup devolution from Spaniard to spaniel took place on a day where Zisou and Vieira finally woke up and Ribery got his game in gear. But I don't think they beat Brazil.
As for the England-Portugal game--don't ask me. I personally feel like Portugal should win it going away, but the English defense--they'd wrongly call it "defence"--played out of their heads against Ecuador (sorry to see them go, too).
I just hope I can SEE some of it.
Friday, June 30, 2006
Saturday begins the runs of two shows I am proud to endorse, running more or less through July.
Forum Theatre brings you The Memorandum, a dark comedy about the most venal and Sovietalicious office in the world, by playwright and former President of Czechoslovakia Vaclav Havel. It runs through July 23 on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays in the evenings and Sundays in the afternoon. Directed by Michael Dove, and starring Patrick Bussink, Kate Debelack, Maggie Glauber, Colin Hovde, Jason Linkins, Brent Lowder, Rose McConnell, Sasha Olinick, Alexander Strain, and Jesse Terrill.
The last time Rorschach took you to Germany, the world slid into the Nazi abyss. Which is why this trip to Berlin, only the hottest and sexiest of holes will be slid into. Directed by Jenny McConnell Frederick, it stars Matt Dunphy, Nelina Giridhar, Jessica Hansen, Jason McCool, and Edwin Xavier. It runs through the 30th of July, go here for the times and dates.
Posted by The Deceiver at 6/30/2006
Friday, June 23, 2006
- It was a total sausage factory. Check the pic. Still plenty for Clarence Thomas to jerk off about later.
- Mary Lynn Rajskub didn't wear a bra.
- When Michael Chertoff, speaking on the differences between the intelligence gathering techniques shown on 24 as compared to the ones the Department of Homeland Security uses, said: "We don't get information using measures that violate the law," everyone in the room finished their beers in accordance with the rules of the Mike Chertoff is Lying Out Of His Ass Drinking Game.
- No one gave Limbaugh any percocets, so he was sort of a dick. DefenseTech reports that his questions were "leading" and "tendentious."
- Explaining why he thought people liked the show, Heritage's David Heyman said: "it allows the viewers to have both "justice" (nabbing the bad guys) and "process" (action within a legally-accepted system) - when in the real world it's often difficult to have both." So, what you're saying, David, is that people are drawn to these entertainments because they depict stories that are not like the real world? THAT'S SO GROUNDBREAKING THAT I FORGOT TO BE IN AWE OF YOUR MIGHT BRAIN!!
- Oh, and Mike Chertoff was DEFINITELY shirty. Leaving early for a press conference on the Miami terror arrests, he snippily took a jab at officials from Washington and New York City, who got screwed in the security funding cycle, by saying that this "proved...terrorism was a 'national problem.'" Oh, yeah. Because Mayors Williams and Bloomberg were TOTALLY insisting that it wasn't a national problem. Yes, Mikey, I specifically remember Williams and Bloomberg saying that no one else but them in the whole country had to worry about terrorism. It was totally the people from Washington and New York City being disingenuous--not the motherfuckers who wrote on official governmenty paper that New York had no appreciable landmarks. OH NO.
I guess there's one foreign enemy that's running loose over at Chertoff's office:
"RRRAAWWWWRRR! That's right Chertoff...tell us more about your fucking WORLDVIEW, dipshit!"
Posted by The Deceiver at 6/23/2006
If only we hadn't squandered all of our corporate goodwill w/r/t looking the other way when we're supposed to be working on sneaking off to Mackey's to watch the World Cup! Because if we thought we could get away with it, we would totes have been in attendance at the Heritage Foundation's symposium on 24, entitled "24 and America's Image in Fighting Terrorism: Fact, Fiction, or Does It Matter?" I don't know if international terrorists have any feelings on 24, but if they hate us for the crapulence that the West Wing devolved into, score one for the They've Got A Point column.
Joel Surnow, whose deft tiptoeings between pleasing both the pro- and anti-Bush cult in rapid, tensely plotted succession were on full display last season, is there in the flesh, along with the man who's made the strongest case yet for placing the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security alongside the biker and the Indian in some 21st Century version of the Village People--Michael Chertoff. He doesn't get shirty--he gets Cherty!
Gregory Itzin, who played the diabolical wussbag President Logan is there, as well as Carlos "Tony Almeida" Bernard. But you know why we're really sorry to be missing this, don't you? Also guesting on the panel is The Genius that is Mary Lynn Rajskub! So hot it burns!
We imagine that the following topics will be covered:
- Epic Bauerian Angst: Is it covered by the DHS Health Plan?
- What is America Doing About The Cougars?
- We Don't Actually Have Those Red-Shirt Guys Guarding Secure Areas, Do We? Because Seriously, Y'all...Those Guys Blow.
- Edgar Styles: Another Victim of Liberal Appeasement?
- Can I Borrow Some of the Hottie Extras You Are Done Banging, Joel? Thanks Dude.
Here's hoping Rush's dealer equipped him with something to help him take the edge off. And here's hoping that Mary Lynn answered all questions like Chloe would: "Guh! Whatever!"
If any of you went, PUH-LEASE let me know how it was. Thanks to Ben and the Wonkettes for the info.
Posted by The Deceiver at 6/23/2006
Thursday, June 22, 2006
Why Landon Donovan, in the 88th minute, passed on a clear shot to the goal to instead opt to push the ball into the clogged up middle and kill a desperately needed scoring chance (a few minutes after lofting a free kick past all players and out of bounds) is anybody's guess. Perhaps right then he had suddenly realized how to alter the flow of time and space and he figured he could gin up a wayback machine to travel back two hours and stop Claudio Reyna from making a hideous, fundamental, grade-school mistake with the ball in front of the goal box. So maybe, in the next few minutes, we'll hear something about how Landon Donovan went back, killed Hitler, cured AIDS, and told Reyna to beware the Ides of Stupid.
But I have a funny feeling this result is going to stand up to Donovan's eleventh-hour flux-capacitation. And why shouldn't it? Let's go to the tape: in just under a week, Ghana managed to personally eliminate the two most-overrated teams from the World Cup and while that sucks for the United States, it's good for soccer all around. After earning back their right to possess testicles in the Italy match, dreary and aimless United States soccer was back in full effect, the four and a half seconds it took for DaMarcus Beasley to connect with Deuce Dempsey being the exception.
A lot of these guys won't be back in four years: Reyna, McBride, Pope, probably Keller. I hope the NSA has got a tap on Freddy Adu's immigration lawyer and is readying a counter-offer. It sure looked today that Freddy backed the wrong horse. Whoever takes the field four years from now will hopefully have the following advantages over the current team:
- The ability to play the ball to a teammate's foot, as opposed to always kicking it into a general vicinity
- The knowledge necessary to realize that while crosses are important, they only tend to work when there are teammates adjacent to the cross
- The recognition, Landon, that you only have about half a second to make a decision
- No more in-the-box Agoosism
This is all I ask for. And what needs to be done to get Esky on this team?
With the United States rightly eliminated, my allegiance switches now to bloodline. Unfortch, that means I get a few days of trepidation before Sweden gets eliminated by Germany (Germany is THREE GOALS BETTER than Ecuador? THAT'S a statement. I've been waiting to see any of Germany's rumored weaknesses to materialize and so far, I don't see anything). Yes, Sweden. My Mor-Mor stepped right offa the boat to come to this country, so I recognize.
My mutt mix of various Celticky/Gaelickness just doesn't understand why I don't just scotch the whole rest of the cup and look for a good hurling match to watch on public televsion.
Sweden was last seen eking out a rather heroic tie in stoppage time against the Brits in a game tha ultimately meant almost nothing. I say almost because Albion'll take the field from here on out without the resources of Michael Owen. I know that everyone in England mainly lives and dies over the state of Wayne Rooney's fitness (though Huge Hugh Owen would probably prefer to see a team of Jamie Carragher clones. I, being a Fever Pitch fan (the book, not the almost certainly execrable Jimmy Fallon misadventure) favor the young sir Walcott--though one thing we can all agree on is that everytime a Tottenham player doesn't get a cap, an angel gets their wings), but I don't think much of England's chances without Owen.
Though, frankly, I didn't think much of them before. The England-Sweden game was pretty instructive, if you want to know why it's better than likely they'll be making some premature exits--Sweden has been great at nearly everything except for the part where you close the deal and finish, and England has played pretty mirthless, turgid soccer except for the fact that they have The Last Bit down pat.
Right now, I'd be terrified of Germany and Argentina--and frankly, I've a little more respect for the Dutch/Netherlandian/Hollandaise after they managed a draw without Robben.
Am I the only one, by the way, that thinks that Ghana could be a whole lot more than Brazil bargained for?
Finally, if you sense that I'm still a little miffy that my Swedes could only nip a draw with the Brits this week, don't worry. There is no extra time in the group stages of the world cup, so the matter could not be settled on the pitch. Off the field, however, Sweden has the only tiebreaker that really counts:
Posted by The Deceiver at 6/22/2006
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
[T]he detainees who hanged themselves last week were in cells where...there's nothing on the ceiling and the meshing is far too small to allow a sheet or anything to be tied to it. They would have had to slowly strangulate themselves by wrapping a sheet around the toilet bowl or something like that.What?! But I thought they were getting two types of fruit! Surely that's worth living for!
Quick! Somebody go and make sure Duncan Hunter hasn't hanged himself in his closet!
I didn't want to let the news of Jay-Z's dust-up with the makers of Cristal pass without comment. Last week, some big-wig at Cristal had the nerve to seem somewhat ambivalent about Cristal's place in the hip-hop iconosphere, saying: "What can we do? We can't forbid people from buying it. I'm sure Dom Perignon or Krug would be delighted to have their business."
Now one might that this was the reaction of a hopelessly a-sea, dessicated old Euro who planned to live a long and happy life without ever having to address the vagaries of American pop-culture. You might think that, but, of course, you'd be wrong. Clearly this man and his overpriced grape soda rocket right to the top of the list of Racist People Places and Things that Adversely Affect the Black Community, and Jay-Z, being, you know, the pioneering civil rights leader that he is, jumped on them with a quickness, banning the grape soda from his hopelessly expensive clubs.
There can be no doubt than plans are afoot for The DCeiver to endorse Hova for the Nobel Peace Prize. Just as soon as me and Jigga and the makers of Cristal are the last fucking people left on the planet.
So, yeah, I didn't agree with the festival of pocket finery the Uruguayan referee handed out during the USA-Italy game. I mean, I guess that unlike some of my opinions, my whole position on, you know, punching a guy in the face and making him bleed hasn't changed much over the years: it's worthy of a red card. But the other two reds given to the United States, and, frankly, most of the yellows that went against both teams were some real overreactions.
A pity, too, because the United States were clearly the better side. The difference between the performance versus the Czechs and their game against Italy could not have been more night and day. Arena's formation adjustments worked to perfection: bringing Donovan back to the midfield forced Italy to honor his ball-handling and the flexibility of bringing a defender into the middle third to halt any developing attacks fit the team's attitude to a T. The United States are far, far removed from Brazil's effortless freelancing, but there's no doubt that the team thrives when there's a little flexibility and some room to improvise.
Italy, looked bad. What I said to Kyle was right. Italy wasn't hungry. The US challenged their ball-handlers well on defense, formed nifty attacks throughout the game, and routinely left defenders looking as if they left their jockstraps in some other part of Germany. Even down two players, the US side continued to play well. The commentators were quick to point out that no team has ever scored in World Cup play with only nine men on the field, but I'd point out that we would have scored with eight had the referee had the foresight to toss McBride minutes before he was caught offside on DaMarcus Beasley's goal.
All that said, Hugh Owen's prediction that the United States wouldn't score a goal in the tournament still stands!
But while Italy lacked the hunger, you have to wonder about France, who seem to ravenously sit down at a table packed with feasting only to forget how to use the utensils. What a positively dreary game against Korea. Thierry Henry played well--if only he had some teammates! And, yes, the refs took a certain goal away from the French in the first half, no doubt about it. But it's a truism in soccer that if you need to win by one, you better go and win by three. The replays may show that France won 2-1, but the newspaper the next morning said they drew, and, ultimately, everyone goes with what the newspaper said. So France drew and Eddie Pope's chippy little tackle was red-card worthy. Stop crying, accept it and move on.
Even as I write this, Ecuador is down to Germany, but I think all the same that the South Americans have been the distinctive surprise of the tournament. They dispatched Poland and Costa Rica with speed, shut out the side (until this morning) and have played good team soccer.
Brazil's Fred is the first person to ever play for the Brazilian Men's National Team who is named after an apartment building in Charlottesville. Though that may not last long. I hear that young Brazilians Graduate Court and 1800 JPA are real up and comers.
I am at a loss to understand how FIFA officials could get away with requiring hundreds of Dutch fans to remove their pants before entering the stadium for their second round game. Apparently, Dutch beermaker Bavaria NV manufactured some weird orange lederhosen with a lion's tail and bearing their brand and gave them out to the Dutch faithful. These fans then had to remove these things if they wanted to get in. FIFA is known for protecting their official sponsors from ambush marketing but making a few hundred people attend the game and then go through the rest of their day in their underwear is ridiculous. If I were ever asked to give up my pants by a stadium official, I'm afraid the guy would find himself stamped with my limited-edition brand of throatpunch.
Most of the games I have to watch with Yahoo's MatchCast, which isn't without it's delights. For starters, you can follow the fan chat to see what nations' fans are simply unreasonable. You gotta love people who, three days before the game, are saying things like: "Obviously, Australia will beat Brazil!" I think that the next step for American soccer fans is to start having outsized and unreasonable expectations.
Also, whoever types the official game narrative and summary is prone to cute little turns of phrase. To wit:
Oooh, snap! Gerrard got him right in the Tobagoes! Another shot like that and Dwight Yorke'd singing like Thom Yorke!
As before, the following rankings correspond to the end of play yesterday.
- Czech Republic
- Trinidad and Tobago
- Ivory Coast
- United States
- Costa Rica
- Saudi Arabia
- Serbia and Montenegro
Gollygosh but this Amy Sullivan has got her head wedged pretty far up her ass. In a weird attempt to suggest that Washington teams don't have any fans--a real stretch when you consider how much abuse we're willing to take from Dan Snyder, how kaka stupid the area gets over the most mediocre of Maryland teams, how for a solid month the entire area ate, drank and slept George Mason hoops, the enormous cachet that even high school hoops has in the area, and the daily public self-flagellations of Nationals fans--who think their shitty, shitty team is the greatest thing since the Red Sea got parted. When Sullivan sticks to her own type, namely transplants and the permanent out-of-town sorts that pollute Capitol Hill and K Street, she maybe has a point--though a very dull one. THIS JUST IN--people who grow up supporting a home team tend to continue supporting them! *
That's the basic problem with Sullivan's premise. She doesn't know any actual Washingtonians. Instead, she's mistaken that landless species of in-town exile with the Real Deal.
In Washington, however, the immigrants don't assimilate. That's a big reason why the city, despite its size and power, feels so artificial. It's like one giant hotel where people stop off for a temporary stay, sometimes for the length of an administration, sometimes for decades, but almost always with some intention of leaving.It's worth pointing out that the Redskins enjoy an epic-long waitlist for season tickets in spite of these non-assimilated immigrants. And despite her claims to the contrary, the city is pretty much apeshit over Gilbert Arenas and his fellow Wizards, and despite the fact that the team's only recently emerged from a coccoon of mediocrity, Washingtonians have always desired the chance see winning days come for the Wizards. I guess Sullivan missed the city-wide orgasm that took place during the entire tenure of Michael Jordan. She should really try to assimilate or something.
The funny thing is, there is a story buried deep within Sullivan's relentlessly banal prose. As Ryan Avent of DCist puts it:
But this piece does show the real tragedy of Washington life ? that so many of the people who write about the city live and work in the insular politico-journo community that fails to assimilate itself into the city, no matter how long they're here. It's a shame that these are the people who shape the public view of this town, these permanent tourists, stuck between the Mall and the Hill.Well, it's the real tragedy of a certain subset of guest workers, anyway. Washingtonians, as far as sports fandom, are getting along just fine. And that's the real story. The people Sullivan describes at length in an attempt to pass off as genuine Washingtonians are the sad ones. Rootless, homeless--alienated and perversely proud of it. Amy Sullivan would be well served to, say, go back to Marshall Wittman of the DLC--who wears his Dallas colors with pride, I might add--as to why his 26 years in Washington haven't, frankly, amounted to a hill of beans. I'm guessing the man might cry.
*Sullivan hits a little close to home namechecking the St. Louis Cardinals. I grew up a Cardinals fan because there was no baseball team in Washington. And fuck the Orioles--playing with a DH is and never will be something I call baseball. Why am I not a Nats fan? Because I'm a Cardinals fan. Duh. That said, I've never ever rooted against the Skins or the Wizards and I nevrr will. That goes quadruple for the DC United.
- Holy crap. How about that effing storm this evening? I now consider myself certified to drive through the apocalypse.
- The Reliable Source checked in this weekend on the state of Jack Evans' love-life. Dude's still wookin' pa nub anyplace he can find it. Try eHarmony or something, Jack. The article seems to clear Evans of any ethical lapses inside gallery owner Marsha Ralls' pantaloons, but we gotta say, the last time we stopped by our favorite double-secret deep background parking garage in Rosslyn, we distinctly remember hearing that while Jack never managed to hit that, it wasn't because he didn't want to! He was, apparently, running quite the at-large campaign in his drawers for her, if you catch my mental. Our advice, get yourself a good wingman, Jack. [Reliable Source]
- The Washington Post wants us to feel the pain of interns. Next time, I'd suggest taking the time to demonstrate that any of them experience any definable hardship. Other than, you know, being stupid enough to work for free. The only way to win that game is not to play. [Washington Post]
- Jack Burkman is the new Robert Steinbuch. Also the crasser, dumber, more self-deluded version of Robert Steinbuch. [Wonkette]
- Mike Grass gets Robin Givhan's money quote on flip-flops, surely the most trenchant piece in that day's paper: "Do not make flip-flops into something they are not." Ooh, Robin. I smell Pulitzer! The rotting, mouldering corpse of Joseph Pulitzer. [FreeRide]
Friday, June 16, 2006
AWESOMEST ARTICLE IN ALL THE LAND.
And they said Snakes On a Plane couldn't happen here! Motherfucker, it just did!
My favorite part:
Coles had left Charleston earlier for a leisurely flight over the West Virginia countryside last Saturday in his Piper Cherokee and was preparing to land in Gallipolis, Ohio, when the snake revealed itself.
"Nothing in any of the manuals ever described anything like this," the 62-year-old Cross Lanes resident said.
Okay, first of all: the snake "revealed itself." Gotta love a snake with a flair for the dramatic!
Second of all: How can it be that aircraft/snake juxtapositions aren't covered in training manuals? Have we learned NOTHING from this movie that none of us have seen yet? The next time I fly, I damn well better find that my airtoon card in the seat pocket pictorially depicts what I should do in case of snake. (If you're out there, and you've got the Photoshop skillz, gin 'em up and let's roll!)
NOTE TO S.O.A.P. PRODUCERS: Are you EFFING KIDDING me? You have got to get this guy on some sort of junket, right now! Put him on the talk shows. Invite him to the premiere. Start scripting the obvious DVD extra "Real Life Snakes On A Plane Survivors". You have still got to buzz buzz buzz your movie all through July and this dude has fallen into your lap!
(ALSO: Is it too late to CGI in some shots of a valiant dauschund, facing down the snakes with aplomb? That's a great plot add that comes right from real life. My thought is, make it Samuel Jackson's travelling companion-slash-pet. Digitally impose the doggy into the scenes, name the dauschund "Motherfucker" and rely on Jackson's tendency to say "Motherfucker" every other word to establish their bond. You just need a few quick cut-away shots to establish. ALSO: Star wipes! Star wipes rule!)
Thanks to Rob for the tip!
Posted by The Deceiver at 6/16/2006
Thursday, June 15, 2006
We hear now from the Bowl of Fish that Eric Wemple, mere hours after offering the staff of the Village Voice some editorial homilies about his sandwich preferences, bolted back to resume editing the Washington City Paper. Which begs the question: What is going on at the Village Voice that would bring him running back to a paper who's last great innovation was to review the food served at area churches?
Based upon the Village Voice's own take on the matter, we're guessing that Wemple freaked when he learned that the paper had become a veritable Gitmo for metaphors:
"The Voice is an enormous and complex horse race. We asked Erik to mount several ponies mid-stride, and he was alarmed to find us still in several of those saddles."Ponies? Saddles? I think I know someone who'd make a great editor!
Sure, France is now almost eight years removed from winning the World Cup, but wouldn't you say it's disturbing that Les Bleus haven't managed a single goal in the past four World Cup games? Well, Thierry Henry is lashing out at Franck Ribery for cocking up their best chance to earn a goal.
"Franck placed the ball behind me instead of placing it in front of me. If he had placed it in front me I could have pushed it inside an empty goal without controlling it and that would have been a goal."
Gosh, Thierry. Sorry for the awful inconvenience. Of course, that doesn't explain why your side couldn't manage a point against Senegal in 2002--a nation France gave running water for Christ's sake.
If the United States doesn't manage a goal against Italy, nobody will be able to kick around DaMarcus Beasley the way Henry is Ribery. All signs seem to indicate that Beasley will not be playing--or at the very least starting--when the United States takes the field this Saturday. In addition, don't be surprised if Landon Donovan is back in the midfield with Eddie Johnson starting in his place. All of this is just as we'd have drawn it up ourselves. But line-up changes alone won't save USA's bacon. They are going to have to step to the ball more often on defense and get back to playing the ball to feet when they are in possession--as opposed to the sloppy "play the ball into the general area" tactics they used against the Czech Republic.
In other news, Brazil got into a bit of an unexpected dogfight with Croatia before managing a 1-0 win. There are some who say that Brazil just traditionally starts off Cup competition slow. Others insist that the Croat side is vastly underrated. I think Brazil's meh result, however, comes from the fact that they go out to play the "beautiful" game of soccer--and really, how is that possible when the Croatian kits are all but sponsored by Go Fug Yourself.
With one round over, here's how we rank the field.
- Germany: The mission was to make a Benz out of this Datsun. Now, with their ticket to the next round punched, the host nation is just humming along.
- Argentina: Hmmm. The 'Tines played soccer without any outward sign of ponciness. Javier Saviola's looking like the next big thing.
- Czech Republic: Played like a team that doesn't doubt it belongs in the semis. Rosicky's just ridiculous. Can they get by without Koller?
- Brazil: Not the greatest result, but no one wants to play them in the next round, all the same.
- Spain: Historically speaking, nobody asses up their World Cup chances better then Spain, but after their pasting of the Ukraine, you gotta recognize.
- Netherlands: Arjen Robben put together the best individual performance of the first set of games, hands down. Anyone else want to play?
- Italy: Steady as they go. They still look beatable if you ask me, but, then, isn't looking beatable the biggest part of Italy's historical success?
- Mexico: Note well: Mexico got it together after Borghetti left the field. The larger question, can La Volpe coach without his cigarettes?
- England: Looking good to advance right now, but it's got more to do with Chaka Hislop than anything they were able to do themselves.
- Ecuador: A dark horse emerges?
- Portugal: For the first five minutes, these guys looked like world-beaters. For the next eighty-five, they didn't even rise to the level of egg beater.
- Korea: Partisans were ordered to dress in team colors after their "epic struggle against Togo," proving once again that this side's strength is their pure Jack Bauerian angst.
- Sweden: Oy. Why do they have to do this to me?
- France: Ou sont les Bleus d'antan?
- Australia: The way the Socceroos came back on Japan, the way they are making the most of their Cup appearance...it ought to make the U.S. team sick.
- Trinidad and Tobago: If the quality of play from England and Sweden doesn't improve beyond game one, TnT actually looks like they could end up in the mix for the next round.
- Ivory Coast: Things might be different if the refs hadn't let Drogba get repeatedly mugged in the box. Of course, things might be different if Drogba had some teammates.
- Serbia and Montenegro: If you were playing them, wouldn't you pay off the team's two Montenegrins to, you know, casually undermine their teammates confidence? "Hey, Predrag? Is that way you're planning on playing tomorrow? Really? No, no. That's really adorable...different, you know?"
- Paraguay: At the very least, Paraguay appeared in their non-fug road uniforms.
- Croatia: Which is more than we can say for Croatia.
- Switzerland: I like to think that after the group stage, Swiss footballers return to angry wives. "Where the hell have you been for the past two weeks?!" "Darling, I was playing in the World Cup!" [Pause] "Seriously. Where the fuck were you!"
- Togo: You think I'm overrating them? Well, I hear they were part of some sort of "epic struggle."
- Tunisia: Ties, ties, ties!!
- Saudi Arabia: Ties...ties...ties...
- Japan: That was just an epic collapse against Australia.
- Angola: Battling their former colonial masters, passion and fervor was supposed to emerge. Instead, bad soccer did.
- Iran: Just when they need a hug the most, they learn--you can't hug a soccer team with nuclear arms.
- Ghana: Boy, they sure could've used Freddy Adu out there...
- USA: I'm beginning to wonder if the US will solve the problem of winning in Europe in my lifetime.
- Costa Rica: Cheer up, Costa Rica. You guys have a model Central American Democracy!
- Poland: All that talk about Poland being poised to make the leap. They leapt right off the cliff.
- Ukraine: From all of us here in America, thank you for sucking harder, Ukraine. We really appreciate it.
Here's a conversation you can have, right now, with anyone who claims to be an "ex-gay."
DCEIVER: So let me get this straight. You sang some songs, recited a bunch of poems, and you aren't gay anymore?
EX-GAY: That's right.
DCEIVER: For real.
DCEIVER: This stuff actually changed the way your dick gets hard.
EX-GAY: Hoo, boy, did it ever.
DCEIVER: Well...okay, I guess. I mean, what do I know? Say, would you like to come back to my place for a three-way?
EX-GAY: Fucking Christ. Would I ever!
- Perhaps upward of five people are waiting with bated breath as to who will assume the reins of the City Paper. The good news? My sources say it will not be Kid Despicable.
- Peter Wallsten only got an apology? Geez. With President Bush, I'm a little surprise Wallsten didn't end the day as the Secretary of Looking At Stuff. [Wonkette]
- In other news: Turd Sandwich victorious over Giant Douche in Virginia Primary. [Washington Post]
- WMATA wants to bring circus performers into the Metro Stations? I don't get it. Is there some sort of combustion engine they can be fed to to make the Orange Line not suck balls? [DCist]
- KAC's Editorial Dude wonders: "How do you keep loquacious seat companions silent? Uhm, try "Shut the fuck up." Usually works WONDERS for me. [AskKAC]
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Over the weekend, I heard a rumor so vile and nasty that it could not go uncommented on. And it's got nothing to do with all the supposed internecine service-journo blog feuds that people have made up out of thin air. No--it's something vastly more unpleasant and devious and it will affect the lives of people who actually leave their homes on occasion. So...most of you bloggers are safe.
The rumor I speak of is that conference bikes have come to Washington, DC. Now, for all I know, these evil devices--which are also known as PartyBikes, but I hereby and hitherto christen the Gaggledouchecycle--have been here all along, silently servicing some hitherto unknown touristy den of iniquity. But the rumor entails that these fucking things were going to be coming to places like Capitol Hill.
The Gaggledouchecycle had a brief run in New York City, where they were beloved of tourists and despised by locals, until the NYPD wised up and sensibly began impounding them because, presumably, they violated the existing city statutes on asinineness. (Why the same tactic has never been used on the front office of the New York Knicks has never been explained.)
I did some checking to see if the Gaggledouchecycle had, of late, made any sort of inroad into our area and I'm ashamed and upset to report that they indeed have. My cursory research led me to this Craigslist posting where some nutsack named Andrew seeks similar-minded tinkleholes to "Ride The Sites."
He says it's totally okay to repost his ad elsewhere, so why not?
Are you a fun, entertaining person who enjoys attracting some attention? Do you enjoy showing people a good time? We are seeking fun athletic people to lead the ?Conference Bike? on a short tour around downtown DC. To see the conference bike go to www.theFunCycle.com. There is hourly pay and the tips can be great. Hours are flexible, but mainly weekends. Please send a resume and contact information if interested to Andrew@bikethesites.com.
Now, the fact that the gaggledouchecycles are here and poised to be unleashed on a populace that, you know, is so HISTORICALLY PRONE TO ACCEPTING large, slow-moving vehicles packed stem-to-stern with gawking poltroons driving right down the road during our carefree days of NEVER HAVING RUSHHOUR TRAFFIC is bad enough. But actively soliciting people who self-describe themselves as "fun, entertaining person who enjoys attracting some attention" is the next step to open, massive, bloody melees in the streets. Think about it: if you were told that you had to choose between two doors: one of which led to the people described in this ad and the other describing a drunk and angry Dick Cheney armed with a rifle filled with Ebola tipped bullets, WOULD YOU NOT take your chances with the Vice-President?
Here is who I'm talking about, depicted pictorally:
Good God. Is that really what we want for our society? Self-satisfied smirkers in a gagworthy array of pastel colored ruffle shirts?
You KNOW what this is just ONE step away from, don't you?
Bad improv comedy.
So, please. Pretty please. Talk to Mayor Williams. Draw the line at Segways. Get laws passed to ban these things. Invest in a good arcwelder if need be. Ban the Gaggledouchecycle.
U Suck Asses were toyed with -- ridiculed, mocked. The Czech Republicans were absolutely gracious, but they weren't having any fun out there -- they faced a team of ego-stroked pansy-faced pussies playing amateur night football: an infantile, Agoos-esque slopfest -- leaving front of goal constantly open, Keller and the Beeze totally burned and out of place (overrated much?) and poor strategies all the way around -- this was not a Czech win, so much as a complete USA loss.....they deserved it -- they sucked whore cunt. The result would have been better if Arena had placed 11 ficus plants at random points around the pitch for Nedved and his plucky band of lovelies to dribble through.Well, maybe if our economy goes in the toilet, America can get good at soccer the way the Brazilians did--by being too fucking destitute to play with anything other than a sweatsock stuffed with newspapers!
It was my impression that the stupid lifeless shitfests US logged in the lead up games were vanilla ruses to distract the opposition. Everyone's bitching about the defense, but those fuckface midfielders produced a sparkless offense -- if you can call it that -- too. Absolutely no touch, no finesse, no swagger, just lazy, aimless, disorganized slop. Their unfocused passes were intercepted constantly, and no one wanted the ball. There was no foresight or strategy anywhere to be found. Arena looked like a whiny ass soccer mom on the sidelines -- Claudio's S.O.G. was a pinprick of light shining through the fucking AIDS quilt. Convey had ONE decent cross in 90 minutes. Johnson was the only one actually working for a living but his efforts came much too late to mean anything. There used to be guys named Landon Donovon and Brian McBride on our team too, but I think they overslept and missed the bus to the stadium.
Let's face it: I knew we were going to lose this match -- the pregame egocentricity was shallow and disingenuous -- but no one expected it to be such barrel bottom scraping futility, such noxious-gaseousness shoved into the loyal fans' maws. It was a complete embarrassment from the opening touch.....So, my prediction: Italia and Ghana beat the shit out of us too and we go home with hanging heads and lots of excuses and nada, zilch, kaputo else to show for it -- and another four years go by -- Keller, Reyna, McBride, five or six others are outta there -- and the US team sinks into even further mediocrity (don't tell me we're biding our time for the Adu Era -- he'll probably want to go play for Ghana after today....)
.....meanwhile, four years from now the United States won't even be a world power anymore let alone a soccer one.....this was their shot -- they wasted their fans' money and set the program back fifty years with that outing.....everyone wonders why soccer isn't more popular in the States? The minute expectations get high enough for the casual fan to pay attention, the team lays an egg that shit-stained and everyone loses interest again. Who wants to root for that?
Also meanwhile, Ben Rothelisberger's agent scores a coup, getting his client to drive headfirst into an oncoming car to avoid US Soccer's suckfest nabbing the top sports headlines for the day. What a country.
This past weekend, when I wasn't sequestered in the Callan Theatre or getting my fill of international soccer, I was at TOMCATCHA's party. There I learned fascinating things about the historical alley they live adjacent to, how it used to be THE place in DC to come to if you needed your horses shoed (hence its width, so as to allow the passage of carriages), how it later became THE place in DC if you wanted to purchase recreational drugs in the open air (guarded by snipers, no less!), and how now it's a quiet and clean alley that features a bed and breakfast (strangely, still guarded by snipers).
I got to work through a personal issue:
That being that the following lyric, from Live, may be the dumbest lyric ever penned (from the Trying To Sound Deep Category): "Our love is like water / Beaten down and abused for being strange." Okay, I have no problem with someone saying their love is like water. What bugs me is that I have never in all my life observed anyone beating down or otherwise abusing water. I can assure you, if I had, I would have intervened. "Hey!" I would have said, adding, "Leave that water alone. What did that water ever do to you?" But what really galls me, and it strikes to the heart of this lyric's stupidity, is that you'd be hard pressed to prove that water is somehow "strange", let alone prone to being "beaten down and abused." Water covers seventy percent of the Earth's surface. That's hardly strange. About the only thing remotely strange about water is that it periodically falls from the sky--but we've all learned to accept this. So: lyric=stupido.
I got to complain about a great injustice:
I read earlier in the week that the baby born with three arms was to have one of the three arms removed. For shame! Has X-Men: The Last Stand taught us nothing? Clearly this child was an evolutionary leap forward. This kid was going to grow up to have extraordinary abilities that preview our own advancement as a species. Clearly, the advent of the mouse for computers was done to promote specificall this sort of genetic improvement. Had this child grown up to work in the field of computing, his productivity would have been extraordinary. Moreover, the wanks he could have enjoyed with that third arm would have been sublime.
I came face to face with an unavoidable truth:
Rob Goodspeed is the most popular person in DC. There has never been, as far as I can remember, a weekend evening in which he did not have multiple social engagements. I have seen him blow off his own soirees. This is amazing considering how much time Rob spend talking about "wikis."
I read that Matt Yglesias was, while walking home, assaulted by a thrown cup of soda. We all know that Garrett Graff was involved somehow.
Sommer Mathis' hair? Awesome.
Finally, don't you think this picture deserves some sort of caption?
Ugh. The 1998 flashbacks are in full effect. Defensive breakdowns and huge gaping periods of time spent pursuing no discernible offensive strategy did the United States in today in a match that was less a soccer game than a full-tilt existential dilemma. The big question is: had Reyna been able to buy himself an extra inch on his shot to the sidebar, would it have been a different game? The answer's pretty clear: it would have been 3-1.
Two of the three goals were absolutely preventable. I don't know who was over on the far side of the field, not covering Zdenek Grygera, but I'm afraid this is basic soccer defense: you don't allow an opponent to stand there with the ball as he decides what he's going to do with it. You have to act and make him change his play. Grygera got to stand there, unchallenged, and wait for Koller to move into position. The smart play would have been to force Grygera to the end line or at least make him take a steeper cross. The Czechs stepped to balls all game long--in that moment, we'd have been smart to follow their example. The third goal came on a bad clearance, very reminiscent of the one that did in Iran in their game against Mexico.
That second goal, Tomas Rosicky--nothing could have been done about that. That's one of those situations where you just give the guy the tip of the hat.
The Czechs blanketed Donovan and kept him from meaningfully affecting the game. DaMarcus Beasley stunk up the pitch. He was fucking awful, and far too many balls went through him. There came a point that whenever Donovan passed the ball to Beasley, touching off yet another tragic misadventure, the announcer mentioned something to the effect of: "Donovan passes to his close friend, DaMarcus Beasley..." It was like someone needed to vouch for him.
Beasley's vaunted speed is useless if his mental game is so slow. He made uniformly bad decisions with the ball. There was one sequence where Beasley has possession down near the corner of Czech's goal box where, if the telegraph hadn't been invented, you would have watched Beasley and thought, "Eureka! I think I've come up with a way to send communications with a series of dots and dashes!"
Of all the players on the American side, only Bobby Convey played with the poise and flair needed to win at this level. Many of our better scoring opportunities came from him, and he's got to be more involved against Italy. If the team's first instinct is to play through, Beasley...well, that's all the more reason he should be benched.
I'm not sure we're going to see Beasley and his black hole of bad soccer start again this tournament. I think we're going to see Donovan back in the midfield against Italy as well. He's got to have the opportunity to make plays, and if that's going to have to come out of the midfield then so be it. And more balls need to go through Convey. But beyond all that, the U.S. is going to have to put forth a substantially better effort. If there's any good news, it's that the task now becomes incredibly simple--no more talk about ekeing out the right number of ties--you have to beat Italy and beat Ghana. The good news is that Italy's a lot more beatable than the Czechs. The bad news is that they're still Italy.
Other notes from the past few days:
- I straight up denounce anyone who calls the goal that won England the game an "own goal." It really wasn't anything of the sort.
- What a difference a group makes. England plays terrible but looks to be through to the next round. Rooney gets two more games off, easily.
- The effing Swedes. It's not easy being a fan of Sweden. It's always something with them. Either they squander a lead or tie someone they should beat or they complain that nobody told them there'd be all the sunlight.
- That said, Chaka Hislop, the goalie for TnT, was flat out awesome. AWESOME. And the whole story has film treatment written all over it.
- The ABC in-studio team of Brent Musberger, Alexei Asshat and Julie Foudy has been execrable, mainly because of Musberger's indefatigable inanity. Paul and I watched them hold forth last Saturday.
MUSBERGER: Now, the goalies for each team...these are some important players for both these teams, right?
DCEIVER: Now, you get one point if the ball goes in the net. But what if it goes near the net?
PAUL: Alexei...players sure don't seem to use their hands very much out there, do
- Additionally, someone doing color commentary--not soccer-goth hero Marcello Balboa--fancies himself to be the World Cup's version of Dick Vitale. Whenever there is a particularly exciting play he gets all excited and starts peppering his patois with a lot of "Baby!" this and that and he sounds fucking stupid. I don't know who it is, but it needs to stop right now.
- Serbia and Montenegro is a compelling side because this may be the very last thing they do as a country together, as Montenegro recently voted to secede. There is talk of that not happening now, but I imagine that the vote will likely stand. Some people just need to be alone to work out their issues, and most of those people are Serbs. So, I predict that they have the World Cup, some scorching break-up sex, and go their seperate ways.
- Paul points out that there are really only two Montenegrins on the team, so the team should be called Serbia with Bob and David.
- Yahoo ran an item on France's Frank Ribery entitled "Ribery is a secret weapon for France." But they ran it in the upper newslink list, not a World Cup branded list. That means that many people outside the Cup watching base spent a few minutes of their lives last week worried that France had a secret weapon. They don't.
- Who do you think Michelle Malkin rooted for in the Iran-Mexico game? Or do you think she just shoved a Coke bottle in her twat and spent ninety minutes imagining her dark lord raining brimstone on the pitch? That's a trick question, of course. Malkin doesn't have a twat.
- I root for the United States, but wherever else, I support the nations where my family came from, and nothing forces me to confront my overall WASPiness as much as the World Cup. Generally, I don't get hung up about it--after all, I've never been to Westport, Connecticut and I don't own a pair of spats. But Sweden, Germany and effing England...well, there's not a nation among the three that hasn't at one point tried to oppress the world with fascism or mercantilism or their poncey clothes or Allen wrench based furnishings. If you are a long lost cousin from Togo or something, please, step forward and feel free to crash at my place whenever.
In the end, not even a generous sponsorship from the Pepsi Cola Company was enough to keep Serbia and Montenegro together.
TODAY: France and Brazil get things started in their groups. If the United States and the Netherlands play in this World Cup's groups of Death, then France and Brazil definitely play in the Groups of Soft Pillowy Opponents of Fragile Gossamer. Also: Togo-a-gogo!
Saturday, June 10, 2006
We have footie, meine Damen und Herren. Host Germany prevailed over Costa Rica despite two goals from Tico superstar Paulo "Episode Four: A New" Wanchope. My man Torsten Frings got one in garbage time, too, to seal the deal. Afterwards, German fans no doubt flocked to Pascha--a twelve story bordello in aromatic Cologne, where all tastes are catered to with ruthless German expediency. Fred Smoot would LOVE this place, obvs. Pascha even boasts a floor services entirely by transsexuals.
Think of Pascha as a WalMart where the greeters fuck you. And aren't eighty years old. And you find out later, some of them have cocks.
In the other match, Ecuador beat The White Stripes favorite team, Poland 2-0, with Ecuador basically getting goals against the run of play. Toward the end, two Pole shots struck metal. Daniel Powter sang them off.
Anyway, tomorrow, at 9am, England plays Paraguay to open Group B. If you know people from England, this is the time where, every four years, they start speaking wistfully and incomprehensibly, staring into the middle distance, acting very French to be honest. Full of hope and loathing, they are positively Rod Soxian in their demeanor. Hugh T. Owen dropped by here earlier to leave a message that requires either an actual Babelfish or a good English-to-English dictionary to fully understand. I hope old Blighty wins this one, otherwise Alex Strain will be inconsolable at rehearsal tomorrow.
Meanwhile, in Dortmund, at the creatively named Fee-Fah World Cup Stadium, the other team I back, Sweden, will be unleashing the Stockholm Syndrome upon little old Trinidad and Tobago. I admire plucky old TNT, but the Gevalia drinking Swedes should throttle them if they have half a mind. I'll say this, though, when all is said and done, Trinidad and Tobago will go home as one country, which is more than can be said for Serbia and Montenegro.
Argentina plays tomorrow, as well, and is it just me, or do the Argentines want to be the Italians so bad you can taste it. They are almost as moist. You know, as more and more greenhouse gases leach into the atmosphere, the resultant global warming threatens the unique moistness of the Argentinian people. That's just an inconvenient truth. They'll be playing, and likely killing, the Cote D'Ivoire.
Posted by The Deceiver at 6/10/2006
Friday, June 09, 2006
Brownpau reminds me that there is, in fact, one Starling I do like: Clarice Starling. As portrayed by Jodie Foster in Silence of the Lambs.
Here's today's bonus question: What is my favorite line from Silence of the Lambs? A hint: the last time I saw the movie in a theater, wild cheering erupted when this line was spoken.
Thank you, Fee-Fah, for this bounty we are about to receive from you. Sorry I have basically no annual leave built up yet. Love will find a way.
I'm so happy that the greatest sporting event in human history is about to start up again. I'm actually a little sad that it won't require the extremes of devotion that it required four years ago. Yet, hopefully, this means my sleeping patterns won't get any further degraded.
Today, the host nation Germany gets it started against Costa Rica. These are just some of my favorite Torsten Frings! The two teams have never met in the World Cup, but Costa Rica has beaten Germany the last two times they've played in U-20 Championships. Not that it matters much. Just hope Costa Rica doesn't end up on the wrong end of the sort of achtung baby Germany handed Saudi Arabia last time.
Also, Poland takes on Ecuador to round out a day of Group A goodness. Paul tells me that the Polish coach has made all sorts of crazy-ass roster changes, none of which sound very wise to me. Maybe they are embracing the "Pollock joke" as a bit of nationalist fervor?
By the way, if you think you have what it takes to play international soccer, meet Paul this fall in the Pitcairn Islands, where he and the other fifteen able-bodied male descendants of Bounty mutineers and their Tahitian wives will be putting together the footie team to end all footie teams. For real. At least the Pitcairnites have grass.
Also, Clint Dempsey busts one off, Houston-stizz. Just save the syrup for after the group stage is over, Clint. That's all I'm asking.
- Well skewered. [Rock Creek Rambler]
- Shiloh Pitt-Jolie imagined as the ultimate bait for Dateline's To Catch a Predator series. But as long as they keep telling us that the kid is like, the Golden Child, how can we dare say our outsized urges to fuck it are entirely wrong? [Blogs t r e t c h]
- Uh-oh. Tim Kaine's going to review the Percy Walton case. Bound to be controversial. Still, this has basically proven why Kaine was a better choice than Jerry Kilgore. In fact, based upon what we've learned now, Kilgore should have never been allowed to hold the office of Attorney General--of Kaine's decision to review the case, Kilgore says: ""That just defeats the entire judicial process. A jury determined the case. They had many appeals in court after court." I'm a little embarrassed to have to explain the law to you, Jerry, but the governor's right of review does not conflict with the judicial process, it is a part of the judicial process. Ugh. You must have a lower IQ than Walton. [Washington Post]
- Zarqawi is dead and the moment is even serious enough for the Note to almost lay off the antic cutesy stupidity that is their stock in trade. Makes you sort of wish we could rekill Zarqawi every day, doesn't it? But then, Halperin's clever enough that he'd pick up on it after about four months or so. [The Note]
- Dig it. So there's this freaky-deak named Furious Zion who's a part of some religious nuthatchery--imagine, say, The KLF crossed with unaccountable evil and impervious stupidity--who show up in this neighborhood in NE with his LSD Soundsystem to blare his kee-ray-zee religious message, which is basically a hodgepodge of insulting the people that live there, at top volume every Saturday afternoon. Why wasn't I told that I could just stand on a street corner and yell at people? Who needs a blog if that's legal? Anyway, poor Mike Grass had to interview this weirdie and the entire cuckoo's nest is online. The best part is that according to Lonnie Bruner (who's got a standing dare for the Evil KLF to try their shit in Adams Morgan), one of these dudes lives in leafy McLean. It must be hard living in the middle of all that white devilment, but...you know, the schools are so good! [Free Ride]
Thursday, June 08, 2006
I was just reading Governessa McPeabs saga of bird struggle. It seems that, from time to time, we must indulge in an interspecies grapple with bird. Paul K. nee H. had a dove living on his porch that I thought was adorable but, he assured me, was definitely an asshole. The Governess' beef is with mockingbirds, the scourge of many a citizen. They tend to defend their brood with misplaced and amoral tenacity and imitate car alarms--which is proof that asshole is a disease that jumps species.
We had no beef with the mockers growing up. For ma famille, there has been only one aerial Nemesis: the Starling. A dirty, pathetic, useless scumbag of a turd-sucking bird. I don't actually know if the Story of How the Babyraping British Assbirds Came to Despoil America that I was told is true or not. I prefer to think that it is either a) true or b) better.
So, as it has been told to me, Starlings were brought to the United States by some dipshit-faced, kaka bastard from England who thought it was important that every bird represented in Shakespeare should live in the United States, too. So he made a list and started crossing birds off. It was like My Name Is Earl except it was My Name Is the Earl of Birdfuckingshamshire.
Asshole brought a flock of Starlings to Central Park and released them. They were all dead within weeks. Still, bitchass didn't take the hint. He brings another flock and sets them free, and I guess these motherfucking Starlings were led the motherfucking Starling
Spartacus because this time, motherfuckers THRIVED, and before long were pushing good old American birds off the block.
All of us were trained in Starling hating from a very early age, and wherever we find the opportunity, we kill them. Or at least hurt them. If nothing else, yell at them from passing cars. Even my uncle, when he's not drunk or complaining or passive-aggressively groveling, is ridding our world of Starlings. If I had a starling in my hands right now, I would tie it down and take a shit on it. Just like I would John Cornyn.
In the interest of full-disclosure, I also once hurt a bat with a badminton racket that had gotten inside our house. We were honestly trying to goad the bat out of the window, and things got hectic. Listen, bats of the world, I have no beef with you. It all happened so fast, and it was either him or me. Listen to your hearts, bats*, and you'll see that I'm not lying.
*You know, with your sonar.
- Note to Sarah Grace McCandless. I'm not the one with the awesome voice. That's Scott McCormick. I can't take credit for his clear tones and deep dulcet goodness. That said: I hope you beat the pants off of Anderson Cooper tonight.
- You know, there was a time when people named Nick Jollymore, Lockhart Steele and Gaby Derbyshire became locked in conflict, there would be like, pinafores and shit. Some bunting, maybe. Not the case with your media mavens of today, it seems. [Gawker]
- Quoth Karl Rove: "If America cuts and runs in Iraq, who's going to tell the families that their loss was in vain?" I didn't realize this was an issue! I'd be happy to do that job. 
- Anti-affirmative action zealots have managed to destroy the UC system, and yet no one can explain to me why having four "Irish pub" themed bars on Clarendon Boulevard is supposed to be okay. Who died and made the Irish pub the new Thai restaurant, anyway? [A Cruel Sommer/Pygmalion in a Blanket mashup]
- Oh, George Mason, for shame. You get a taste of the spotlight and start deciding you're too good for the people that had your back when you were nobodies. I realize that Gunston's just a misshapen pile of sweat-stained green terry-cloth...but that's a bad karma thing to do. [DCist]
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
Ann Coulter wasted away on camera on the Today Show, with a full third of her body weight stemming from the bug up her ass over 9-11 widows.
COULTER: To speak out using the fact they are widows. This is the left's doctrine of infallibility. If they have a point to make about the 9-11 commission, about how to fight the war on terrorism, how about sending in somebody we are allowed to respond to. No. No. No. We have to respond to someone who had a family member die. Because then if we respond, oh you are questioning their authenticity.
LAUER: So grieve but grieve quietly?
COULTER: No, the story is an attack on the nation. That requires a foreign policy response.
Okay. She sort of equates "authenticity" with "infallibility." That's pretty weird. But if you pick through her reasoning, there is an interesting point worth debating, and that is: Should we be basing policy decisions, in this case foreign policy and military decisions, based upon emotions. Unlike Coulter, I am perfectly comfortable according people a certain degree of moral authority, but in the end, policy should be based on reason. That's why we have boring courts of law instead of posses. That's why maybe you don't take a nation to war because someone once tried to kill your daddy.
So, I can kind of divine her point. Watch, however, as she effortlessly moves the goalposts.
COULTER: That is the point of liberal infallibility. Of putting up Cindy Sheehan, of putting out these widows, of putting out Joe Wilson. No, no, no. You can't respond. It's their doctrine of infallibility. Have someone else make the argument then.
What? How did Joe Wilson get all up in this mess? Joe Wilson, the man loves his wife, sure--who wouldn't? Valerie Plame is a stone fox, y'all. But Wilson didn't wade into the world of Bush criticism out of a need to satisfy his emotions--he had expertise and specific knowledge.
Is Coulter seems to be saying is that it's not right for people with facts at their disposal or expertise on hand to make arguments? That other, less informed people should be the ones to debate policy decisions?
Well, that explains why Coulter steps in to make so many arguments for the right. Because she is a fucking idiot.
Posted by The Deceiver at 6/06/2006
Argh. Blogger had itself a Weekend at Bernies, and my recap is swallowed up somewhere. And, naturally, I didn't save it. So, feh, folks. Sorry. Next season, we'll engage in some sort of Best Practices.
The season finale was all about our beloved characters devising crazy plans that had no hope of working.
1. Jack and Sayid's Double Cross
I was with Sayid when he spoke of using their knowledge of Michael's treachery to press an advantage. Smart move, thought I. Then Sayid came up with his whole Sail Around the Island idea. Right away, I was like WTF. What happened to "I am a torturer?" What's wrong with beating the truth out of Michael and then gathering up the posse you want to take with you to the other side of the island? What about not going at all? How does Sayid plan on sailing right up to County Other without being detected? How did Sayid plan on dealing with the fact that his signal fire was going to attract their attention? And, oh yeah, what if Michael doesn't take you anywhere near the Others' encampment? This is before we even get into how it would have been shrewder to let Kate and Hurley and Sawyer in on the plan.
2. Desmond's Insane Plan to Win Penny Back.
Okay, a man hands you a box full of cash and tells you to stay away from his daughter. What do you do? First, call up your Morgan Stanley broker and get that money conservatively invested in a diverse portfolio of stocks. Shell out some bread to put down roots--that real estate market is only getting hotter, so find a place you want to live and start building equity. As for the remainder, start a nice nest egg for savings or put something away for retirement. Then: go bang his fucking daughter. Seriously. Daddy was a sucker.
What does Desmond do? He hatches this crazy scheme to win a round the world sailboat race to show Daddy up. Hmmm, I sort of think spending his fucking money and nailing his daughter is sufficiently "in-your-face," but obviously, I don't fit into the whole World of Lost. Let's remember also, that said daughter is unstoppably hot and basically throwing herself at you. You want to spend a year learning to tack and fighting off scurvy? Priorities.
Sidebar: The Unbearable Complication of Boats.
What's with boats in the movies and on TV. They never seem to help. At best they only richly complicate matters and at worst they capsize or flip or sink or hit things or destroy the Speed franchise. Sayid needlessly complicates his crazy-ass plan by involving Desmond's boat--and he builds it into his plan without EVEN KNOWING HOW TO SAIL! Desmond has got the girls of his dreams in hand, but he wants to win some fucking race FOR LOVE! It's a wonder he doesn't rechristen the boat the "Peter Cetera" and charter it out of Cheese Hollow.
My favorite unnecessary boat plot of all time comes in the remake of The Jackal, starring Bruce Willis. In the movie, Bruce Willis plays some sort of international terrorist superstar who the authorities know about but don't know what he looks like--because he's a Master of Disguise!--which in this movie means he's a leading expert in fluffing his own eyebrows. Anyway, no one knows what he looks like--no one except Richard Gere, who's too preoccupied with his bad dialect and the LSD encrusted rodents in his ass to be much help. With the odds decidedly in his favor, needing to get into the United States, you'd think Willis could just walk right in to the country. But instead, he enters himself into some sort of regatta and sails into the country. That's just so needlessly overcomplicated! But that's boats for you--a hole in the water into which you throw the plot.
3. Locke and Desmond decide to stop pushing the button.
One thing I don't understand is this: why does Desmond go along with Locke's theory that not pushing the button will cause nothing to happen when he has personally experienced the Hatch doing the banana splits as a result of being late to press it. He basically stands there, commuting back and forth to Flashbackistan on the Express train, remembering that time the Hatch did the banana splits, and he never mentions to Locke: "I don't know, brother. The last time I tried that, the room starting shaking and the computer was yelling at me and all the metal objects in the room starting crashing and whizzing around. It's just sort of the thing you mention.
4. Eko and Charlie try to dynamite their way into the Hatch.
Jesus, Eko, what part of "blast door" don't you understand? Practice saying this sentence: "I'm going to blast through the blast door." Does it not strike you as cognitively dissonant? Also, guys, when you light dynamite, it's best to not be standing four feet from it. Charlie...for real, dude. Run. Get away.
So, here's where we're left at the end of the season:
- Speaking of Lost, what about those plot devices? So, are we going to find out how Libby ended up in the nuthatch? Are we ever going to find out about Walt's rumored special powers and how he was too much for the Others to handle? What about Walt's backwards masked messages about not to push the button? Can we at least agree that the message was better delivered to someone who wasn't Shannon? Will these threads ever get picked up again?
- So, now that we've visited Penny Widmore's peeps out at the Ice Station Zebra Freaky Electromagnetical Research Station, as well as seen Penny in her own home (where she sleeps fully made up and coiffed), we can officially rule out the possibility that the outside world doesn't exist. This puts a dagger in the heart of the afterlife theories.
- Maybe it's time for some other Losties to step up. Info Leafblower pointed out that it was surprising that the Losties collectively thought it was totally okay for Sayid to take their means of getting off the island on a quixotic excursion around the island. I've railed against the slack and casual attitude of the Losties all year and how they went from being scared out of their minds to behaving as if they were on some vacation excursion within the course of a few hours.
- Maybe some other Losties will HAVE to step up. Here's the breakdown at the start of next season: Michael and Walt--gone. Jack, Sawyer, and Kate--abducted. Locke, Eko, and Desmond--perhaps dead. Sayid, Sun and Jin--on the other side of La Isla Encanta. Hurley's on his way back. That means when the lights come up on Lostie beach, the most senior member of the Lost Organizing Committee will be Charlie. They're not left with much of a braintrust and they're way lacking in muscle.
- Plus--no more Hatch. A good thing. No more showers and washers and dryers and novels and movies and hi-fi systems. We're back to the scrounge, hopefully. And I for one am glad--it's time for the islanders to endure some hardships.
- Weird bird. I say it said "Hurley". Maybe it's the freaktastic reincarnation of Libby and we're a few episodes away from some hot man-on-species action. Hurley wrestles with whether to make love to Libby or make the dopest hotwings the Isla has ever seen!
- Weird statue. Come on, Sayid. Are you really that unsettled by the lack of a fifth toe? After all the shit you've seen, you're saying a four-toed motherfucker can step up on you and you'd be too busy having your mind blown to do anything about it?
- I don't know about you, but I'm gonna miss calling Tom the Dude From That Kansas Album.
- "We're the good guys." Didn't your mind revolt at the thought? What if it's true?
- Charlie seem a little weird to you? He was a little blase about Locke and Des and Eko and their fate when he got back to camp.
- And finally, what's the deal with Desmond and Penny?
To answer that question, I'd like to point you to an interesting theory that I've seen put forth, by Doc Jensen over at Entertainment Weekly, which I'll embellish a little with my modern existential drama skillz.
In the play Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead (also a great movie with Tim Roth and Gary Oldman), we see the story of Shakespeare's Hamlet told through the experiences of two of the original play's minor characters--the titular pair of Wittenberg classmates who have been sent for by the treacherous king to study Hamlet and "glean what afflicts him." But the play is no Rashomon, a literal depiction of an event through a different perspective. It is instead, an existential black comedy in which our main characters are powerless to exert or impose their own will on the story. The story, if you will, happens to them.
So, what if, rather than being lost at sea or in an alternate reality or in some scientific experiment, the characters we know and love as the protagonists of Lost are actually "lost" inside someone else's wholly conventional story, trapped within the machinery of the story itself as secondary or tertiary characters, unconsciously playing out the part an unseen author has written for them? In this theory of Lost, the conventional story would be the love story between the marooned Desmond and his determined, intrepid soul-mate, Penny Widmore.
- The nature and order of the universe on La Isla is decided bizarre. In R&G, the play begins with the characters finding themselves unable to flip a coin and come up tails.
- The Losties, like R&G, encounter a group of people who form a third party to the main story, and clash with them.
- Like R&G, they find the manners and behavior of this third party unsettling and appalling.
- Also, as in R&G, the members of the third party make a habit of pretending to be something they are not.
- As in R&G, the characters are aware at times that they have a purpose they must fulfill, though they cannot put their finger on why they must fulfill it.
- And, as in R&G, the characters' pasts are only important in terms of what's going on in the story they are trapped in. (It might be worth going back and examining each time one of our characters fails to remark on their backstory when asked--maybe it's because they can't remember.)
- Desmond and Penny, as characters, seemed to leap right off the screen. Desmond returns to the island and makes his way through his time there with the charisma and the certainty of someone who should be a leading man. Penny Widmore is played by Sonya Walger, the preternaturally beautiful actress who appeared in the short-lived American version of Coupling. She comes off as heroic, intrepid, beautiful in an old-school movie heroine sort of way--in a way, a cut above the rest of the Losties. These two feel and look and act like classic protagonists. Their love story, even for it's weird complications, feels conventionial and Victorian in nature.
- Of course, her being named Penelope and her beau being lost at sea calls the Odyssey to mind--another conventional and oft-retold story--but the script is flipped: this Penelope is going to rescue her love. That's so in keeping with JJ Abrams mindset.
- Desmond raises the spectre of Chuck Dickens, an author known for keeping his main characters buried in plot, only to emerge later (a la Tale of Two Cities).
- In fact, the main character of Our Mutual Friend is described as "the absent center" of the story.
- Not to mention the fact that Dickens is well-known for providing an endless amount of backstory for even the most minor of characters. This is the primary reason his books are usually 4,000 pages long and intolerable.
- And, of course, unseen authors haunt La Isla: Gary Troup, Alvar Hanso, the false chroniclers of the Pearl Station...
Of course, an important question is raised: what if "the Others" really are the good guys? As in, the agents of the story working to reunite Desmond and Penelope. What if the characters we know and love are actually supposed to be the antagonists?
Well, I find it intriguing. But whether or not it will make for compelling TV is another question. To date, the medium hasn't been that successful at launching Pirandelloesque stories as hits.
Anyway, feel free to tear that apart. We'll see you in the fall.
Posted by The Deceiver at 6/06/2006