Thursday, August 31, 2006

A Word For Joe Tizzle

There seems to be a backlash of frustration in some quarters that Joe T has been named starting QB and wunderkind Matt Stafford is listed as 3rd on the depth chart. Many seem to be dooming Joe T to miserable failure before a down has been played. These people needs to check themselves.

Joe Tizzle for rizzle.

Yes, Joe T wasn't a worldbeater at the Cocktail party last year, but he didn't play that bad either. It sure wasn't his fault that his receivers got the drops and his coach was calling run plays on 3rd and forever. Richt has even said that he is to blame for being waaay to vanilla in that game and not giving Joe T chances to throw and shine. Furthermore, last year the offense was designed around Shockley's set of skills, and there was no way they were going to be able to redesign the offense around Joe T's very different set of skills in one week, so it seems foolish to base all analysis on the fact that Joe T wasn't Zeier against Florida. Just remember how horribly bad Shockley played in the Georgia Tech finale 2 years ago in an offense designed around D Greene's set of skills. I was at that game and it was as ugly (and cold) a game as you will ever see, especially for Shock G. This year's offense will be designed and tailored with Joe T's set of skills in mind, so let's support him and give him a chance before deciding a priori that he is shit.

Joe Teezy fo sheezy.

Did people really think that Stafford was going to some in and be a hero as a true freshman? This is the real world of CFB, not Varsity Blues or any of the other cheesy, unrealistic hollywood football movies. That just doesn;t happen in the real world. Eric Zeier, Gerogia's greatest true freshman QB of the modern era, didn't even start until like the 5th or 6th game of the 1991 season. I think people got a little worked up by all the hype and youtube vids of Stafford. Not disrespect to his State championship HS team, but playing QB in bog time D1 football in the SEC is a pretty enormous leap forward. He should be great but he needs time to learn, grasp the system, and develop, and throwing him to the wolves before his is prepared will only hurt the kid in the long run.

Joe T is the older, wiser, albeit less naturally talented option. But let's give him a chance and see how he performs before deciding that he must be replaced by one of the young hotshots. He certainly should make less silly mistakes than Stafford or even Cox would. With our talent distribution this year being so heavy at RB, and with MM1 being fairly unstoppable when covered by 1 defender, the QB only needs to be able to minimize game altering fuckups and chuck it around enough to keep the defense honest and unable to just put 8-9 men in the box. Joe T seems like the logical choice.

With out talent at RB, this will be
a large part of the game plan this year.

Lastly, some of these people need to stop questioning Richt and whining about his decision, unless they have been at practice every single day and seen what he has seen. We pay that man a whole pile of money to make that decision, and he is better qualified with a more proven track record than any fan or talk show host, so let him do his job and support his decision. Identifying talent and choosing players is a historical strength of Richt, not a weakness, so there is no reason not to support his choice. Richt's weakness is game management, specifically clock mamagement, NOT personnel.

"All weee arre sayyyy-ying,
is give Joe T a chance."

Joe Tizzle has been given the keys to the car. Let's let him drive it and support him and see how he does in the first few weeks and then go from there. I think he gives us our best chance to win as long as Richt has confidence in him and doesn't handcuff him like he did against UF.

As the late, great Tupac once said:

"I ain't mad at cha.
Got nothing but love for ya.
Do your thing, Joe T."

Root for Tech to beat ND?
Obviously You Are Baked.

The Georgia-Georgia Tech rivalry is commonly known as "good old fashion hate", but Georgia fans also tend to hate Notre Dame. They play Saturday night in the marquee game of the week. I call these games, where two teams that I really don't like face off, an "Injuries & Explosions" game, because those are the only two things in which I can have a rooting interest. PWD calls them "meteor games". The best examples are any game involving any two of Florida, Auburn, Tennessee, Georgia Tech.

Either way, there has been some talk amongst various UGA fans this summer about who to pull for in this game, and some are even advocating pulling for Tech to beat ND. Wrong. Any Georgia fan should be pulling for ND to stomp Tech, and it's pretty simple: recruiting. We recruit against Tech, but we don't recruit much at all against ND. Any marquee win by GT will of course help them in recruiting vis a vis UGA, especially in state. We certainly don't want to lose some instate bluechipper to GT because he was so impressed by them beating ND on national TV. We want them to get stomped so that said recruits will see clearly that the place to be is up in Athens. Typically a quick comparison of the girls on campus will always swing any 18 year old to choose Athens over North Avenue, but a huge win for GT over the historical "best" program in CFB history might be enough to sway some confused lad into signing on the dotted with Chan. In the past two years they have beaten Auburn and Miami, that is enough for a while. Some more home losses to Duke and annihilations by 5 loss Mountain West teams in 3rd tier bowl games are in order before their next marquee win methinks.

Yes, ND is annoying, especially when they do well and the bandwagoners come out of nowhere. But a ND win doesn't really affect UGA other than having to listen to Beano Cook and the rest guarantee that they will go 13-0, win the national title and Brady Quinn will be awarded not one but two Heisman's this year. But a GT win tangibly affects UGA in the battle for the hearts & minds of the state's top recruits.

What I really hope for is a 0-0 tie that goes to OT, where after 3 scoreless OT periods ND wins 3-0. That would be sufficiently embarrassing for both teams and put a big smile on the faces of all of us haters. But that is obviously not going to happen. So here's hoping the Oirish beat Tech in a lobsided game that ends with a score of way too many to not nearly enough, and that all of the recruits visiting GT for the game will leave extremely underwhelmed, searching for Rodney Garner's cell phone number.

Bears Invading Knox Vegas

So Cal is travelling to Knox Vegas this Saturday, and my buddy A10 and his crew of Cal diehards are making the cross country roadie. It will be their first foray into the deep fried sweetness of Southern football. I have been hyping the SEC gameday experience to them for several months now, and as much as I dislike UT, Neyland is a flat-out awesome place to watch a game.

I'm guessing they'll have a few culture shock moments.

I have asked A10 to do a writeup of their experience, which I hope to post early next week. I will be interested to hear the reactions & impressions, and I sure as hell hope that they beat the Vols; I'm pretty confident that they will. Hopefully Lynch & Forsett will repeatedly stroll into that goofy checkerboard and say "King me. Bitch." And for the full experience they certainly should go to a Waffle House. After midnight. If not drunk then at least with an excellent buzz.

Bears. #1 threat to America Rocky Top.

Safe trip gentlemen, good luck, and have fun. And be prepared to have Rocky Top stuck in your head for at least a month. Oh, and if and when Cal win, please be obnoxious to the Tennessee fans.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Arsenal Joga Bonito Wednesday

As someone who walks to and from work everyday as well as all over my neighborhood and city, I am thankful and fortunate that I didn't get run down in the streets by this crazy bastard yesterday.

Now then, here are 5 beautiful Arsegoals to get us through the week.

As an added bonus, I found this interesting video about TH14's youth in Paris and early career.

Enjoy, and Happy AJBW.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Weekend Roundup

Last week was "frustrated but encouraged". This week was just frustrated. Another match where they pretty much dominated, hit the post twice, TH14 had two 1-on-1s with the keeper and feebly shot right at him both times, Hleb had a 1-on-1 with the keeper that didn't even result in a shot, on and on. They went 0-1 down when defender Justin Hoyte had a colossal fuckup and conceded a penalty. Note to Justin: it is never wise, in your own penalty box, to run full speed to your right while looking to your left, becuase you may very well smash into the other team's striker and give away a goal. Ridiculous. Hoyte is a right back who looks lost out there at left back, and why Flamini, who deputised so well last year at left back, is not playing there I don't understand. By about the 70 minute mark you knew they were never going to score, and they didn't. Manchester Citeh 1-0 Arsenal.

So for Pessimist Club members you have: first loss to Citeh in 17 meetings dating back to 1991, 1 point from 2 matches against 2 pretty shit teams (Villa & Citeh), worst start to a season since 1992, etc., etc. Basically the sky is falling.

For members of The Optimist Club you have: completely dominated both matches, haven't given up a goal in open play in 2 matches, and every other big team (except ManUtd) have already dropped points as well. Basically a rationalization that Arsenal can still challenge for and win the Prem.

I'm somewhere in between these two camps. It's frustrating as hell not to have at least 4 points from these two matches, but on the other hand I definitely prefer what has happened thus far to having 6 points from 2 matches but getting knocked out of Champions League by Zagreb last week. They host Boro, another average team, in 2 weeks, so hopefully they can sort it out and get back on track. The transfer deadline is Friday so it will be interesting to see what happens with Ash Cole, Reyes, and the 58 players rumored to be coming in.

Horse Racing
Bernardini romped in the Travers, so everything is building towards a massive showdown in the Breeders Cup Classic on Nov. 4. Most horses will have 1 more start between now and then. In other races at Saratoga Henny Hughes looked amazing and will be one of the favorites in the BC Sprint, and Discreet Cat completely romped on Friday, winning his first start back since winning the UAE Derby in the spring. I think he ran the fastest 7 furlongs of the entire Saratoga meet, so he is one to keep an eye on this fall.

Stop me if you have heard this one before... Tiger looks totally average on Sunday, no one else steps up and grabs it by the throat, and Tiger does what he needs to do to win in the end. That's 4 wins in a row, and he plays again this weekend in the Deutche Bank tourney in Boston. Tiger looked a bit tired on Sunday especially, and he seemed to win more on mental toughness and putting than anything else.

I am going to predict that he does NOT win this week, and here is why. Immediately after the tournament he and the rest of the US Ryder Cup squad hopped on a jet and flew to Ireland, where they landed yesterday morning to play 2 days of practice rounds on the K Club, which is hosting the Ryder Cup next month. After playing on Monday (off only whatever sleep they got on the plane), playing Tuesday, and flying home Wednesday morning, they will play a practice round in Boston Wednesday afternoon and then tee it up Thursday - Sunday. I think Tiger was already fatigued before all of this, so I do not think that he will win his 5th in a row this week. In fact, I don't think any member of the US Ryder CUp team will be the winner this week given that crazy schedule. I look for a Euro or a lesser known US player to win this weekend, but we'll see.

At long last it arrives this week. Time again to spend would-be productive work time studying these. Things kick off on Thursday night as the faux-Bulldogs host Spurrier's Cocks, who will try to deliver the Ol' Ball Coach his 1st ever win in Starkville. The real Bulldogs host WKU, which is only mildly interesting to me because I lived in Bowling Green for a year and worked in the athletic dept. at Western. Otherwise it is essentially a scrimmage.

Kanu Potpourri
Kanu bagged two more goals last night as Portsmouth destroyed Middlesborough 4-0. With 4 goals in 3 matches he is tied for the goalscoring lead in the Premiership. He has already doubled his goal total for his 1st season at West Brom and is only 1 shy of matching the 5 he scored for them last year. Keep it going, Kanu.

This Kanu finally scored for FC Red Stripes on Sunday, but it was pretty ugly. Weak shot that went through a defenders legs and into the goal - the soccer equivalent of a basketball 3 pointer from the top of the key that goes in off the glass when you were shooting for the swish - you just put your head down, run back on D, and don't say a word. Sadly 1/2 the Red Stripes didn't show up and we got throttled in a shootout something like 8-5.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

El Nueve Del Septiembre:
El Genio Mal Versus Los Perros.
En Vivo!

I've been trying to figure out September 9th for a couple of months. First and foremost is South Carolina-Georgia, a game that is not to be missed for a myriad of reasons 1) Carolina is our bogey team and always play us closer than they should 2) 1st real test for Joe T, and the entire team for that matter 3 {and most important}) The greatest nemesis in the history of Georgia football, one J.R. Ewing.

Seems plain and simple then, watch the games all day, then settle in for Uncle Ron's call of the Dawgs at 4.45. Trick #1: Last year I really wanted to catch a Cal game over at Berkeley but never made it. This year I have an open invitation to go with my buddy A10 and his fellow die-hard Cal fans. They host Minnesota on the 9th, which is an appealing game to me. The trick is that the game is at 5 p.m. Trick #2: A Tribe Called Quest, one of my favorite "bands" ever, is playing in Berkeley on the 9th at 8 p.m. (I'm sure they won't go on until 10). WTF? I had no idea they were even back together - what was it 1999 when they broke up after The Love Movement? It would be great to see them in concert, and I could literally walk from the Cal game to the show. Trick #3: Another local band that I really like but have never seen called Vinyl is playing at the Boom Boom Room in SF at 8 p.m.

So I kicked it around for a while and finally settled on watching the USC-Georgia game and then walking down to the Boom Boom Room and checking out the Vinyl show afterwards. I'll go to either Cal-Arizona State or more likely Cal-UCLA later in the year, and Tribe will just have to wait (the fact that tickets are $50 and it's part of some video game tour certainly helps).

Tribe: losing out on Kanu's discretionary income.

Well now that is all out the window, because...

...I'm going to Argentina.

On Friday.

Long story short, the legendary Chris Smith is down in Buenos Aires for a while, so I have a free place to stay -when else will I have that again in my life? Since my favorite thing bar none is travelling & exploring new places, it's on, even though it means missing the 1st two weeks of the CFB season. CFB is only a week out and the juices are really starting to flow (chatted with a Buckeye at my soccer match today who is going to Austin, and later went to a musuem with a girl who can't wait to watch ND beat the shit out of Tech), but shit, man - this is Argentina.

"The Paris of South America".
Population: 12 million.

My flight out of BA leaves Saturday the 9th at like 10 p.m. (they are an hour ahead of EST), so I am hoping against hope that at the airport, somewhere, there will be ESPN and I can catch the first quarter. It's much more likely that instead it will be ESPN International and they 'll have on some Bolivian 2nd division soccer match. My fantasy would be that my Delta 767 is one of the old Song jets that is kitted out with live TV like the JetBlue planes and that I can watch it En Vivo! But at this point I'll just be happy for a plane that doesn't crash and kill me. I land in ATL on Sunday the 10th and have a 6 hour layover, so hopefully Mom & Dad can pull off the *set the VCR and get it to actually record what you are trying to record* trick, and I can get a tape of the game when they come meet me and I make them take me to The Flying Biscuit for brunch. I'd also like to see that new ATL Aquarium too, but we would have to Clark W. Griswold-at-the-Louvre the shit out of it in about 30 minutes.

El Monumental

One cool thing is that futbol is going on down there right now. I'm trying to work out a trip to La Bombonera (home of Boca Juniors) or El Monumental (home of River Plate, 1978 World Cup final), and Montievedo, Uruguay is just a fery ride across River Plate - it would be awesome to see Penarol or Nacional play in El Centenario stadium, which was built in 1930 for the first World Cup and hosted the 1930 World Cup Final in which Uruguay beat their neighbors Argentina 4-2.

La Bombonera

Another cool-ass thing is that Argentina and Brasil play a friendly match the day after I arrive at none other than Arsenal's new Emirates Stadium. And since it is in Europe, both teams will field their best teams since all the best players are already over there. You think that match will be on a TV anywhere in Buenos Aires?

If anyone knows how I can become fluent minimally functional en Espanol in 5 days - please let me know.

Friday, August 25, 2006

It Was The Worst Of Times.

The other day I went to the Comcast office to turn in my digital cable box and remote - thanks to the FSC/Setanta BS I just ditched everything but basic cable and decided to go the pub route for footy. As I was standing in line looking at the scuffed, bruised and battered remote in my hand I was reminded of the Georgia-Auburn game from last year, because after they completed that 4th & 31 to beat us I grabbed this very remote and threw it as hard as I could directly at the cast iron radiator in my apartment, where it promptly shattered into about 13 pieces; one of the batteries flew clear across the room and went out the open window. Somehow my sister was able to piece it back together, a feat of engineering not seen since the rescue of Apollo 13. Interestingly this was the 2nd Comcast remote to get the death toss. The first was in 1999 when a last minute long pass by Central Florida down to our 10 meant that for certain we were about to lose at home to UC freaking F. I grabbed the remote and spiked it as hard as I could into the ground -it only shattered into about 6 pieces, and I was able to put it back together, albeit not in it's original state. In a miracle they suddenly remembered that they were UCF and thanks to their utter ineptitude we escaped with an embarrassing 24-23 win. Amazingly, Comcast accepted both remotes back no questions asked.

Like this, but with a giant scuff mark
like on your golf ball after it hit the cart path,
some other scuff marks, and a considerbale gap
on the left side where the top and bottom
are supposed to fit together seamlessly.

Anyhow, I started thinking about how gutted I felt after that game, but at least I wasn't there in person, because that would have been 1000 times worse, especially considering that I would have flown 2500 miles to see it and had to fly 2500 miles home thinking about it (fortunately I chose to fly to ATL for the SEC Championship destruction of LSU, which was well worth the trip).

Where was I? Ahh, yes - feeling gutted. So then I started thinking about games that I attended in person, trying to determine which one left me the most gutted.

A Mexican fan's reaction to El Tricolor going out
of World Cup 2006 to Argentina pretty much sums it up

Plain and simple: what is the most gutted that you have ever felt after attending a college football game of your favorite team? A game watched on TV does not count.

For me, Tennessee in 93, 94, 97, 98 Florida 94, 95, 96, 98, 99 and Auburn 99 don't count. Even though they were horribly depressing and gutting in their own way, we were completely dominated from the beginning and never had any chance to win the game. Having said that, here are my top (or bottom) 10:

1. 1993 Georgia 26-33 Florida
The flood game, and the last "real" cocktail party (before the stadium renovation) where the whole stadium was bleachers and the opposing fans were seperated into quarters instead of halves. Water halfway up car doors as we walk into the stadium. Zeier had something like 786 completions on 1289 attempts, and Shannon Mitchell caught 187 balls himself. At the very end we scored a TD only to find out that UF CB Anthone Lott called timeout before the snap - as frustrating as that was, it was legit; I saw it happen live and knew the play would be called back as my friends were celebrating. So then we score a 2nd TD, and this one is disallowed because our wideout lands out of bounds, even though it is plainly obvious that he caught the ball inbounds and was pushed out. The 3rd time we come oh-so-close to scoring a 3rd TD in a row but it is all for naught. Unlike 1992, which was just an epic battle where we came up short, this felt like we got jobbed unjustly, and after sitting in the pouring rain all day only to get jobbed at the end, having the Gator players come over to our student section and taunt us was the cherry on top of the pissed off sundae. With my 1st two exposures to the cocktail party being the back-to-back heartbreak losses in 92 & 93, I was off and running with a healthy hatred of the Gators. Amazingly, I attended every cocktail party between 1992 and 2000 except 1997, when my job in the WKU athletic dept. prevented me from being able to go. Unbelieveable.

2. 1995 Tennessee 30-27 Georgia
After witnessing in person the losses to Tennessee in 92, 93, and 94, this one was an enormous kick in the nuts. We were rolling and Robert Edwards had 200+ yards rushing but then broke his foot early in the 2nd half. Late on Brice Hunter dropped an easy wide open pass the would have given us 1st and goal. Instead we settled for a 50 yard FG try that Dax Langley missed by about a foot, and then UT kicked a game winning FG with less than 30 seconds to play. Totally gutted; I remember saying in a drunken haze to Solon and others: "Remember this. Remember how shitty this feels, because it will make it that much sweeter when we finally beat those fuckers." Little did I know there would be 4 more consectuive losses in a row before we finally did beat them. The one solace of the weekend was some excellent female companionship; it certainly could have been worse - I could have had Solon's night.

3. 1999 Georgia Tech 51-48 Georgia (OT)
The Fumble that wasn't. Tapley and I scored tickets and we sat in the end zone where the crime occurred. I remember 3 other random things from that day: the "It's StinGTime" yellow T-shirts that they Tekkies wore were the weakest things I had ever seen, I had to go all the way up to the concourse above the west stands to get a coke, which is ridiculously far for any stadium that considers itself anything but Mickey Mouse, and I almost got in a fight on the way back to the car because some arrogant Tech frat fucker got in my face and kept screaming in my face that they beat our ass when they did no such thing. Thanks again, inept SEC refereeing.

4. 2001 Georgia 17-24 Auburn
We were better. We were ahead. Then behind late. Then we marched all the way down to Auburn's 1 yard line with 15 seconds left. Then Richt has a Richter Scale brainfart and we run Jasper Sanks into the line. Not a bad call in a vacuum, but when there are 10 seconds left, the clock is running, and you have no timouts, then when the Auburn D stuffs you it's not 2nd and goal from the 1, it's 0:00 and game over.

5. 2003 LSU 17-10 Georgia
Made the roadie down to Baton Rouge. Completely dominated LSU, but multiple turnovers in the red zone and 2 missed FGs left us down a TD late. With about 90 seconds to go, Tyson Browning takes a screen pass at his own 7 and takes it 93 yards to the house, making it the longest TD reception in UGA history. Tie game an it looks like OT, where of course we will win. Nope. On 3rd and long or 4th and long, Sky Green catches a long pass for the game winning TD after a broken play scramble by the QB to break our hearts. After putting the stinger on some riverboat casino Friday night to the tune of $300, I go an unheard of 0-8-1 on my bets Saturday to give it all back. The next day at breakfast I pick up the local paper like I often do, only to find out that on the LSU game winning TD play Sky Green ran the wrong route and we lost on a broken play. Then my girlfriend's car that I was driving gets flat tire so we get to hang out at the Firestone store in some mall for 2 hours before finally making the long ass 9 drive home. In the rain.

6. 1998 Georgia 19-21 Georgia Tech
Precursor to the even greater loss due to bad officiating that would happen the following year. Late on we lose a fumble in our own end that wasn't, and then we go for two and make it but are ruled to be short. They kick a game winning FG in the last seconds and then celebrate like they had just won a national championship - a legitimate one. Dudes, you have a flag boy and need inept refereeing to beat us. Check yourselves.

7. 1992 Georgia 31-34 Tennessee
My first ever Georgia game. Back then the first couple of games were played before classes even started, I went with my roommate. We were clearly better, but 6 turnovers and a key dropped pass at the end did us in. It was the first of many times that I had to stand and watch the UT band play RockyTop in our stadium for a good 30 minutes after the game, and listen to their fans sing it all night long. We lost a game we had no business losing to an inferior opponent, and it only hurt more after the season when all that stood between us and an undefeated season was this and the agonizing 2 point loss to the Gators. This was the best Georgia team between 1984 and 2002 - it's a shame they didn't do better than 10-2 and a #8 ranking. Fortunately this was my first Georgia game so I had not yet built up enough emotional investment to be as gutted as I should have been; otherwise this would be #4.

8. 2001 Georgia 9-14 South Carolina
Richt played ridiculously conservative when he had the better team so we were only up 9-7 late and of course they scored at the end to beat us (might have been 9-6 and they scored and went for 2). 9 points against a Granny Holtz USC defense? Abysmal. The game that spawned my now famous-in-some-circles postgame drunken tirade back at the parking lot that attracted a bit of a crowd, about how I had been driving up to Athens for years and years to watch the games, paying my hard earned money for season tickets, sacrificing being able to sit and watch all the other games from around the country (I especially remember not being able to see all of the great Michigan-Washington game that day), and that our program simply didn't merit that, and how I was sick and tired of watching us lose to inferior opponents, etc. (except drunken loud and with about 493 f bombs sprinkled in there). Word obviously got to first year coach Richt, becuase he has sorted it out since then.

9. 2000 Auburn 29-26 Georgia (OT)
We were up 13-0, then down 13-23, then we fought back and forced OT at the end, but only managed a FG and they scored a TD. Sucked ass, but by this time our supposed to be breakout season (ranked #3 preseason) had already been completely destroyed. Doug gives better recaps of both losses to Auburn here.

10. 1993 Georgia 21-23 South Carolina
My seat in the student section happened to be right on the goal line, so I had the perfect view of some Cock's goalline dive for the winning TD in the last minute. Tanneyhill ran over to our student section and gave us the double bird. This game marked the transition from the great 1992 team to the truly shitty phase of the Ray Goff era.

Honorable Mention

1994 Georgia 30-43 Vanderbilt
Homecoming is for being entertained by the cheerleaders from the 50s, not for losing at home to Vanderbilt. Embarassing as it gets. Humiliating is probably the better word. The lowest point of the Goff era.

1996 Georgia 7-11 Southern Miss
Donnan's 1st game. Everyone was excited, no one moreso than me who had worked in the stadium every day all summer as a paid employee of ACOG as we hosted the mens & womens medal rounds of soccer. After all that time in the locker room, press room, luxury suites, storage sheds, "running the stairs" after work to stay fit, and everywhere else that I had never been, the stadium felt like home. The game? A total and complete clusterfuck, best epitomized by this play. This game didn't leave you feeling gutted, more like in total shock and disbelief. We ran Goff out of town for some fatheaded fool who can't beat USM at home? My lasting memory from this game is that the souvenir Coke cups had a some cheesy caricature of Donnan with "Donnan of a New Era" in big letters, which was just flat-out embarassing - a respectable High School wouldn't have had those cups.

2000 Georgia 15-27 Georgia Tech
We didn't get jobbed, we got rolled. Tech's only legitimate win over us since 1991. George Godsey is still running up and down the field at Sanford as we speak. The low point of the soon to be over Donnan era.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Champions League Draw

The Champions League draw for 2006-2007 went down earlier today. For those not in the know, it is a similar format as the World Cup: a group stage followed by a knockout stage to determine the best club team in all of Europe. Like the World Cup, the group stage consists of 8 groups of 4 teams who play each other once at home and once on the road; then the top two advance to the round of 16, the 3rd place teams drop down to the less prestigous UEFA Cup, and the last place team goes home. In the knockout stage each round is a 2 legged playoff: one match at each team's home stadium with the winner advancing on total goals, with away goals being the tiebreaker. It follows this pattern until the final, which is a one off match at a pre determined neutral location. This year's final is in Athens, Greece. The group stage starts in September and the Final is in May; CL matches are played midweek throughout the season and are in addition to whatever league and cup matches the team have in their respective countries.

Arsenal drew Porto, CSKA Moscow, and Hamburg. Not a bad draw, although trips to Russia in the winter are always tricky, especially for a finesse team like Arsenal, and Hamburg are pretty tough for a 4th seed. We shall see; it all kicks off on September 12/13. Bring it on.

Of course Chel$ea drew Barca again - cue more whining from Mourinho about them not being a 1 seed. Even funnier is that they also drew Werder Bremen, so they drew probably the toughest 1 seed and the toughest 3 seed. It is not beyond possibility that Barca and WB could qualify at their expense. Dare to dream...

In another interesting twist, AC Milan drew a joke of a group that they will walk through with ease: Lille, AEK Athens, Anderlecht. Definitely the easiest draw of all of the top seeds. As I have said before, listen for grumbling to grow louder and louder as they progress in a competition that they have no business being a part of in the first place, and don't be at all surprised if in some twisted sort of ironic-bizarro-karma they go on to win the whole thing after being {rightfully} banned and then {wrongfully and shamefully} allowed back in on appeal.

Liverpool, on the heels of their Israeli/Kiev adventure in qualifying, have to go to Turkey, which is never fun for an English club. They should get the standard "Welcome To Hell" treatment from the Galatasaray fans which for European teams starts at the airport (just ask Barcelona if it is an intimidating place to play). On the other hand they should be able to draw on the positive mojo of winning the Champions League Final in miraculous fashion in Istanbul 2 years ago. Has an English team played an away match in Turkey against Galatasaray in the CL since the 2 Leeds fans were stabbed to death in Istanbul in 2001?

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Arsenal Joga Bonito Wednesday

So I'm starting a new feature called Arsenal Joga Bonito Wednesday. Each week I'll throw up a video showcasing the beatiful game that Arsenal have played in the Wenger era, mainly to bridge the gap between footy weekends. Some will be short, some will be long, some will feature specific players, and some will be general beautiful team stuff. Today is a good place to start since the CL qualifier was not on TV.

So here you go. We'll start of with a nice compilation of Arsegoals to a Euro-tastic dance track. Enjoy.

Joga Bonito that would make Cantona proud.

Champions League Update

Arsenal take on Dynamo Zagreb today in the 2nd leg of their Champions League 3rd qualifying round after winning 3-0 away two weeks ago. So all they need to do today is avoid a 1-4 loss and they are into the Champions League proper (0-3 would mean extra time). Basically Arsenal are Ivory Soap to get it done: 99 and 44/100% probability.

It is the first night game at Emirates Stadium - too bad it is not on TV. Setanta again went with Benfica-Austria Vienna.

Yesterday Liverpool made it through 3-2 on aggregate against Israeli side Maccabi Haifa after drawing 1-1 in their "away" leg which was played in Kiev.

Also, AC Milan made it through. Each time that they progress in this tournament there will be more and more moaning about their punishment in the Italian scandal being reduced and them being allowed to play in the CL after first being banned, and rightfully so. It would be embarrassing for Italian soccer and UEFA if Milan were to make it to the final and/or win the whole thing. That wouldn't be anything new for Italian soccer, it is embarassing enough as is. Oh, and whereas every other season is either delayed or threatened with a delay because they cannot get their TV rights sorted out, this season is looking like it will be delayed becuase Juventus is appealing their reduced punishment for the 37th time - their latest line of argument being that they cannot be relegated because they have contributed so much to the rich history of Italian soccer. This after the start of the season has already been moved back two weeks. What a joke Italian soccer is.

Normally I pull for Inter because they are not Juve or Milan. This season I would have loved to ignore Serie A altogether, but thanks to PV4 going to Inter I will pay attention to it somewhat I'm sure. At least he didn't go to ManUtd; I would have weeped openly if I had to see him in a Red Devils kit.

The draw for the Champions League Group Stages is tomorrow at 9 a.m. PST and can be seen live on UEFAs website.

***Update 2.14 p.m. PST***

Arsenal 2-1 Dynamo Zagreb.
Arsenal advance 5-1 on aggregate.

Even better: Chel$ea came from ahead to lose to Boro. Joy.

Bring on the CL draw.

Two Tragic Horse Racing Deaths

Two very sad bits of racing news:

1) Champion sprinter Lostinthefog has been diagnosed with terminal cancer in his abdomen and spleen. The horse won his first 10 starts and entered last year's Breeders Cup sprint as the favorite but was beaten badly. I wonder if the cancer played any role in that poor performance; the doctors said that it was likely in his body for the last 4 months to a year. It surely affected him this year, when he won only 1 of 3 starts. There is an excellent article about Lostinthefog here.

Lostinthefog was the pride of the 2nd tier NoCal racing scene.

He was the best horse to come out of the Bay Area in quite some time. His owner has returned him to his stable at Golden Gate Fields to live out his remaining few weeeks as long as he is not in too much pain. It was nice to hear his trainer say:

"We'll keep him in the stall for a week or 10 days... This would be the best thing to do, get him back with his groom. I just couldn't leave him up there (at Davis) to be euthanized and thrown in the bone yard...
We're fine with a week, 10 days, maybe two weeks... But you get beyond that, his quality of life wouldn't be good. This way we'll let the people who have always been around him take care of him. We'll bring him home and make him as happy as we can for awhile."

2) In more shitty news, 2005 Horse of the year, 2005 Champion Older Male Horse and 2005 Breeders Cup Classic winner Saint Liam has died. He suffered a fractured hind leg yesterday while being led to his paddock and the damage was such that surgery could not have saved him so he was euthanized.

Saint Liam winning the 2005 BC Classic.

I know that everyone ridicules the "sport" of horse racing as nothing more than a cruel business that exists only because of betting, but there millions of people who love and genuinely care about these amazing animals. I am one of them, and I am really sad and sorry for the connections and fans of these two great horses.

Lava Man Makes History

Lava Man won the Pacific Classic Sunday at Del Mar, keeping us on course for a potential amazing clash at the Breeders Cup Classic this year between him, Bernardini, Invasor, and Flower Alley.

On pace to showdown with Bernardini in BC Classic.

Lava Man is now 6 for 6 this year, and is also the first horse to ever win the "Big 3" races in Southern California in the same year: the Santa Anita Handicap, The Hollywood Gold Cup, and the Pacific Classic.

Bernardini races this Saturday at the Travers Stakes, the main event of the summer meet at Saratoga which is also known as "The Midsummer Derby". He wil face six challengers, the sternest being Bluegrass Cat, who finished 2nd in the Derby and Belmont and easily won The Haskell in his last start. Bernardini has been flat-out awesome in his last 3 races; if he can do it again then there will be much hype about the showdown with Lava Man in the Breeders Cup Classic, with the standard East vs. West hype and whatnot. The Travers will be shown on ESPN on Saturday from 2-4 p.m. PST.

Is Bernardini a freak or has his competiton just been poor?

Monday, August 21, 2006


T Woods extended his record to 12 for 12 in majors when he holds or shares the lead after 3 rounds. He went out and birdied 4 of the first 8 holes, making 2 40 foot birdie putts, and Luke Donald was unfortunate to have putts lip out on 2, 3, and 4, and that was it. It was over early, and the last 10 holes was just going through the motions really. Tiger put it on conservative cruise control on the back nine and shot 68 to win by 5; the 3 players within 3 shots of him at the start of the day (Donald, Oglive, Weir) all shot over par.

So he's two thirds of the way to Jack's record of 18 professional majors, and an even closer three quarters for those who like to include the US Amateur as a major (15 to Jack's 20). Dude is thirty, and it is generally accepted that golfers do not peak until their mid thirties - many players did not win their first major until their mid thirties, most notable Ben Hogan who won his first of 9 at age 34. Pretty scary to think that TW might get better, when you consider that in his last 8 majors he has 4 wins, a 2nd, a 3rd, a 4th, and the missed cut at the US Open which many attribute to the loss of his father 1 month prior.

One other thought: as yet another major passes by where the challengers fall by the wayside, the legend of Bob May just grows and grows. He really is the only guy who stepped up, played out of his skin, and dueled TW shot for shot in the final round of a major: 2000 PGA at Valhalla, May shot 66 to Woods 67, both men shot 31 on the back nine, and May lost by 1 in a 4 hole playoff. Note that this was in a year when Tiger won the US Open by a record 15 shots and the British Open by 8 shots.

As time passes, the legend grows.

Actually, Dimarco did pretty much the same thing at the 2005 Masters, but isn't quite as epic only because as well as the Gator played, Woods finished bogey-bogey to create that playoff.

After a few years in the wilderness my Tiger at 3-1 vs. the field in all 4 majors bet has paid off handsomely for the 2nd year in a row. If he wins 1 major in a year then I break even, and anything above that is winnings. I'm already looking forward to renewing this wager with SD in 2007.

Lastly, this makes 3 wins in a row for TW - the third different time in his career that he was won 3 in a row. It will be interesting to see if he can keep it going this week at the World Golf Championships at Firestone.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Can A Wildcat Beat Tiger?

Tiger Woods has had or shared the lead of a major 11 times going into the final round. He has won all 11 times (he has never come from behind on the final day to win a major). Luke Donald is an Englishman who went to nearby Northwestern (Medinah is in Chicago) where he became a legend, winning an individual NCAA tournament title and becoming a 3 time All-American. They are tied as co-leaders at -14. So what will happen?

Numbers alone say that at some point Tiger will be beat in this situation, but will it be today? Donald is playing great golf and has a ton of support from the galleries of his "US hometown". Ogilve and Weir are there as well, but I can't se anyone else winning, just because it is hard to see someone overcome a 4+ shot defecit to TW on the last day and leapfrog 3 other guys as well. So I think the leader will come from the last four. I have TW in a bet against the field and I'm getting 3-1 odds; I feel pretty comfortable with that right about now. We'll see.

I just hope that the golf today is as good as yesterday. TW, Donald, Oglive, Weir, and Sergio all played some incredible golf, not to mention DL3 holing out from the bunker twice in the first 5 holes. At one point yesterday there were TEN dudes tied for the lead; i cannot ever remember that as last as the 3rd round of a major; Thursday morning, sure, but mid afternoon Saturday? Nutty.

The one thing that I want to know about Luke Donald is the same thing I want to oknow about any Brit - what team does he support? Is he a Liverpool fan? Spurs? Wycombe? I know Poulter is an Arsenal fanatic, but I would really like to know about Donald, Faldo, Paul Casey, and the rest. Next time I am at a PGA Tour event I'll have to wear an Arsenal kit to a practice round and chat them up about it.

I'm off to play for FC Red Stripes, then back here to watch the golf. Enjoy.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Frustrated But Encouraged

Arsenal 1-1 Aston Villa.

Very disappointing, yet encouraging at the same time. Arsenal flat out dominated: 21 shots to 5, 11 shots on goal to 3, 61% of possession to Villa's 39%, and a whopping 18 corners to 1 (of course Villa scored off their 1 corner). Arsenal had two cleared off the line, put the ball in the net only to have it called back on a verrrrry marginal offisides, and then Villa scored on a set piece (corner) thanks to a complete fuckup by Mats. Merry Christmas Olof Mellburg. The 2nd half really was one way traffic, they created a million chances, and Eboue hit the crossbar. It looked like one of those frustrating matches that you completely dominate but lose but finally Gilberto scored a great equalizer in the 85th minute and it finished 1-1. So it was one of those frustrating matches that you completely dominate and draw instead.

Gilberto celebrates his cracking equalizer.

Not getting 3 points home to Villa is pretty shit, but getting 1 point is better than getting none. And who knows, maybe Villa will turn out to be decent this season - I am reminded of Chel$ea's shock come from behind draw 93rd minute last second 1-0 win after being outplayed against newly promoted Wigan on opening day last season that at the time was so shocking, but as it turned out Wigan was a legit solid club that stayed up with ease, and Chel$ea won the title fairly easily. That being said, you have to think that the other contenders like Chel$ea, Liverpool, and ManUtd will get the full 3 points when they play Villa at home. Either way, all top clubs will unexpectedly drop points somewhere along the way, so it's not all doom & gloom.

There were some very encouraging things to take from this match on top of the fact that Arsenal completely dominated it. First & foremost, we finally got to see 17 year old wunderkind Theo Walcott, who came on for FL8 and played the last 17 minutes. Holy shit, the kid is as advertised. Amazing pace, ball control, passing vision, and a nose for shooting on goal. I was frankly suprised that he lived up to all of the amazing hype - he was fantastic and I sure am excited to see him get more playing time and develop. Another added bonus is that his amazing play today plus his great game and goal for the England 21 team in midweek, just makes Sven look all the more stupid for naming him in the England WC squad but then not having the stones to put him on the park for one minute, and I am all for anything that reveals what a dumbass Sven is.

Theo finally makes his Arsenal debut,
and what a debut it was

Second, the new big field will be good for Arsenal. Today there was lots of space out wide on the wings in the attacking third, and Eboue made the most of it getting forward on the right - he played an absolute blinder. Ljungberg and then Walcott were very dangerous in space on the left; the space will be a good thing for Arsenal's style I think. Ljungberg ran his socks off on the wing and just like at the World Cup and Champions League final, looked much more pacey and dangerous that he did most of the last two club seasons, where it seemed that he had lost a step or two. Henry didn't do much but he did have to travel and play 90 minutes for France on Wednesday, so that was a little bit to be expected. Everyone else was very good (Mats fuckup aside) except for left back Justin Hoyte, who was pretty dodgy - I expect Flamini to start at left back against Man Citeh. It was also a bit silly of me to have Rosicky scoring a goal when he didn't even make the squad because of injury. Oops.

So a bit of a shit result today, but looking at the big picture I am very, very excited about this team. Can't wait to see them play again. And the new kit is clean: my big dilemma is which one to order: CF4 or KT5? I'm leaning towards CF4. ***Update: after reading this, there is no more doubt - I'm defintely getting the CF4 kit.

Oh, and my man Kanu scored not one but 2 goals for Pompey on his debut, and he should have had a third but Brad Friedel saved his late penalty kick - as of today he is your leading EPL goalscorer. I hope that he keeps it up and has a great year for them.

Hell yeah: Kanu opens his account for Pompey.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Finally, Football Season Is Back

No, not college football: 2 more weeks for that. But proper footy starts tomorrow, at least the English Premier League.

It seems so long ago that the 2005-2006 Premiership season ended in such incredibly rewarding fashion. Thanks to the World Cup we basically had 2 one month offseasons with a month long orgy of World Cup soccer in between instead of the usual 3 month layoff. Either way, I sure am glad that it's all starting up again, with the renewed promise of a new season where everyone's team is tied at the top of the table (unless you support some of the Italian teams of course).

I would give you some sort of well written Arsenal preview, but it already exists from a much better writer whose thoughts I pretty much totally agree with. I think on any given day that Arsenal can compete and beat anyone, Chel$ea included. The trick comes with the lack of depth, which could be Arsenal's achillies heel this year, especially if there are significant injuries or suspensions. That being said, Ash Cole will most defintely be sold so maybe someone will be brought in with the money received for him.

Some of my rambling, all-over-the-place thoughts:

The new stadium in and of itself is exciting. Seeing it, as well as watching how the team adjusts to the much bigger field, as well as hoping that it will be louder and full of song than the sometimes "Highbury the Library". It will also be great to see the team back in proper red & white uniforms instead of those silly "redcurrant" ones from last year.

Emirates at night: can't wait for the first CL match.

So I think that Arsenal could beat Chel$ea and win the league, and obviously as a fan I hope that they can. However, in my heart of hearts I would think that if Chel$ea are to be beaten this season, that it will be Liverpool or Manchester United, who just splashed out $50 million to vastly improve their central midfield with Michael Carrick and Owen Hargreaves(well not quite yet on Hargreaves but supposedly it is going down very very soon). These two clubs seem sot have more veteran, experienced talent wehreas the Arsenal threat is in rapidly developing youth, so at this point The Pool and ManUtd seem more likely to have a chance to beat out Chel$ea.

That being said, I still think that Arsenal can do it if the breaks fall their way. Last year the vibe of the team was shock, disbelief, and feeling sorry for themselves at the sudden and suprising departure of captain and team leader Patrick Vieira. This season the vibe is one of confidence and self belief after making a run all the way to the Champions League final.

I just know that in Thierry Henry they have one of the very best players in the world, and it is exciting to watch him play in any match because of the special things that he continually does on the field. I also know that in Cesc Fabregas they have one of the 2 best teenage players on the planet, and he is now at the point where I love watching him do his thing any chance I get. And that little dance move last week against Zagreb was sweet, too. I'm also excited that Cesc has inherited Vieira's #4 jersey, that Kolo Toure has inherited Martin Keown's #5 jersey and Senderos has inherited legendary Arsenal captain Tony Adams' #6 jersey.

Titi & Cesc: worth the price of admission alone.

The team all around is extremely young, talented and exciting that I look forward to watching them play week in and week out to see them grow, develop, and improve. The amount of talent that Wenger has cultivated that is 25 & under is just stunning: Rosicky 25, Hleb 25, Eboue 23, Flamini 22, Senderos 21, Van Persie 21, Reyes 21, Adebayor 21, Clichy 21, Diaby 20, Fabregas 19, and Djourou 19, not to mention the youngsters on the cusp of breaking into the first team such as Hoyte 21, Lupoli 19, Bentner 18 and the next hyped teen sensation Walcott 17. I dare say that no other club in the world has such a collection of young talent like this. Watching them grow up, develop and shine under Wenger will be very exciting to see from week to week.

I love this man, and I'm not afraid to say it.

Henry and Mats have proven that they are veterans who the youngsters can look to for leadership and consistent performances. Lastly, in Arsene Wenger Arsenal have the finest manager in the entire world, period. I'm jacked and ready to go.

I realized this summer that in the last few years I have become a true Gooner. I started following the team in1998 mainly because they signed my favorite player, Kanu. For a while I loved Arsenal but mainly because my 2 favorite players, K25 and PV4 played there. Now they are both gone but I am as interested in the team as ever. I have flown across the world twice to see them play at Highbury, and after 7 years I now understand all those people who talk about loving the club and that no player is bigger than the club. I have reached the point where I'll be "Arsenal till I die" as the common chant goes, not matter who plays for them and no matter if they are champions or shite or even relegated to division 3.

Kanu at Highbury, March 2006.

Enough rambling, bring on the season.

Arsenal-Aston Villa.
7 a.m. PST. Setanta Sports USA Channel

I predict a 3-0 win over Aston Villa tomorrow. Their new manager O'Neill is very good and will eventually turn things around, especially since the club has just been bought by Cleveland Browns owner Randolph Lerner who will likely make money available to bring in some better players in the next few years. I actually think that given their history, fan base, and resources, that Villa could be a bit of a sleping giant. But none of that is going to happen fast enough to make them any good tomorrow, and hopefully Arsenal will roll them. So I'll take 3-0 with Henry scoring the first competitive goal at Emirates, which is only right since he scored the last goal at Highbury. I'll also go with Van Persie (who I think will have a breakout season and score 15 goals) and new man Harry Potter the USA killer Rosicky.

Myles astutuely points out that Wenger has dropped Ash Cole from the team altogether because if he played or even warmed up on the sideline the massive negative reaction from the crowd would be a big distraction to the team, and it will already be a bit of a weird distraction breaking in their new home. A wise move methinks - I believe that I would buy a used car from Wenger with very few questions asked.

Thanks to the Fox Soccer Channel/Setanta shenanigans, I'm off to the pub at the crack of dawn. Whomever your team is, enjoy the first weekend of the Prem.

Kanu Signs With New Team

After 2 years with West Brom, speculation has lingered all summer about what club Kanu would move to this season since West Brom were relegated from the Premiership in May.

Kanu has signed a contract with FC Red Stripes and will play this season in the Golden Gate Sport & Social Club's Adult Recreational League, where he will earn a salary of -$60. When reached for comment all he had to say was "Hooray Beer!".*

The real Kanu, you say? Oh, sorry...

Today he signed for Portsmouth where he will join another former Gunner Sol Campbell and play for the charismatic manager 'Arry Redknapp.

This season he'll be the one wearing the blue kit.

I'm glad that he signed for Pompey - it looks like the new owner is investing some cash to try to do more than just fight off relegation, and their fans are 2nd to none in England. I have always pulled for them since the Portsmouth-Arsenal FA Cup match in 2004 when their fans literally sang and chanted at the top of their lungs for the full 90 minutes even though they were thrashed by Arsenal 5-1 (I think it was 4-0 at half). I've never seen anything like it by any fans, ever. And 'Arry is a likeable guy, a very good manager, a good quote, and has been a Gooner (Arsenal fan) since he was a boy. So best of luck to Kanu, I hope he can find his scoring boots again or at least feature more than he did at WBA. I am guessing that he will become a fan favorite at Pompey if he starts scoring goals, because he is kown to have some wacky ass goal celebrations.

Ahh, those were the days...

*Actually, this happened 4 weeks ago and this Kanu has played in 4 matches. Two weeks ago he had an amazing miss with the goal at his mercy (not quite as bad as his miss of the century, but close) but later made up for it with a nice throughball assist. This past week he assisted on 2 of the 4 Red Stripes goals, and looked like he was going to open his account with a diving header, but alas he was denied by the woodwork. Some Red Sripes fans are happy, but some are grumbling that Kanu is not living up to the $60 salary that he paid the club.

Occasional moments of brilliance, but here
he gets schooled by a 4 year old girl.

Doug Flutie Is Wicked Pissah

Last month I was able to travel to my hometown of Boston and spend a few days at the lake in New Hampshah as well. I also got to go over to Oakland and watch the Red Sox beat the As with all of the other Bay Area chowds (there are a bunch). It was cool to see Schilling pitch for the first time in person.

Just like Kanu, this dude went to Natick High.

I thought that was it as far as getting back to my roots this summah. But I was wrong. The fine proprietor of BC blog Eagle In Atlanta asked me to submit to an interview of sorts, as he was looking for an outside opinion on the state of the BC program. He thought that my pedigree of Boston native and longtime fan of a big SEC football program would naturally produce some amazing insight and wisdom. I was happy to oblige, although I'm very certain that I fell well short of saying anything insightful, profound, or wise. Anyhow, thanks to ATLEagle for the opportunity to answer his questions about BC football, which can be found here.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Why Does The Women's Equality Movement Come To A Screeching Halt When The Check Arrives?

I consider myself pretty openminded and progressive when it comes to modern women's issues. Although as a male my understanding of women will never rise above "foggy", I am all for women's equality socially, in the workpalce, equal pay, all that stuff. I read Salon's Broadsheet with interest and would recommend it to anyone, male or female. I also understand that it is muy expensive being a woman with all of the makeup, accessories, etc that must be bought, let alone $15 a pair nylons and $50 a set underwear, as compared to our $3 bottle of PERT Plus, $7 boxers and one nice pair of brown shoes.

After many 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th dates in SF over the last year, what I don't understand is this: why, for so many successful women, does the women's equality movement come to a screeching halt when the check comes? Let me explain because that sounds like I am Costanza-cheap and I am not. In fact, I'm rather liberal with paying for others, as my friends and exs would certainly attest.

If I go on a first date with a woman, then I expect to pay and I have no problem with that; I am enough of a gentleman to think that it would be rude fo me not to pay. No big deal, so I'm out $30 to $100 depending on if we meet for drinks or dinner or whatever. Again, no problems whatsoever. However, when we go out on our 2nd date and the woman does not even offer one time to buy a round of drinks or whatever, then I certainly notice and it starts to get on my nerves. I would expect a liberated successful career woman to at least offer to make a little effort after that point; I'm not even talking about dutch or even actually paying- I am talking about a simple offer to get the next round of drinks or what have you. Once we get to the 3rd of 4th date and I am out $200+ and not only have you not paid a dollar but you haven't even offered, then I start to get irritated and lose interest in you.

It's not even about the money, it's about the implicit message of not offering at all - that you are not all that considerate and expect the man to pay for everything. I understand the traditional romantic notion of a man courting a woman and the traditional value of the man paying for everything. However, if that is what you expect on every date then you are being hypocritical, for if your attitude is that the man should incur every and all cost associated with courtship then you should be consistent and advocate the back-in-the-day setup where women's equality takes a backseat to men earning way more than women for the same job, etc. After all, if you are expecting the man to pay for everything then isn't it only fair that you support the 1950s mentality that men deserve to make way more than women?

What would Gloria Steinem think?

I am NOT saying that I think that we should revert to 1955 and men should make way more money than women. I'm just trying to make a point about the hypocricy of a woman who acts the way I described.

But again, it's not about the money involved, but rather the attitude. I certainly am not the number crunching type who expects that if a bill is $62.80 that each person should pay $31.40; I am an "it all comes out in the wash" person. "I get this one, you get it next time, it all evens out" is my attitude with friends. With women I have no problem paying for the first date, but after that I would hope that a sliding scale of "I get this one, you get it next time, it all evens out" starts to happen where she starts to pick up something here and there and after a while it gets closer to a sharing of the financial side of our being together. Note - I am never asking for this ratio to fall below 50/50, and I certainly am not expecting a sugar mama. But I have been out with a number of girls who after I paid for everything on the first date do not even offer one time on the 2nd or even third date to pay for anything at all. It should also be noted that each of these women had at least as good a job as I did if not better. What the hell is up with this? It seems like an expecting and inconsiderate message to send to not even offer to buy a round of drinks if we go out and have 5 rounds of drinks after I took care of everything on the first date.

I had one girl I talked to about this say to me "well my grandmother always told me that a man should pay because he is paying for my company". What the fuck? Why is a woman's company so valuable but a man's not? If a woman is hanging out with a good looking ,well dressed, normal dude with his shit together (not necessarily me, given those set of attributes) then does that not have a value as well? Don't make no sense to me. Seems to me then your grandmother would also advocate that I make twice as much as you and rightfully so if I am to be paying for the privledge of hanging out with you.

What would legendary anchorman Ron Burgundy think?

I get that being a successful modern career woman is difficult and extremely challenging, especially given societal pressures, stereotypical roles, and whatnot. But it seems like some women are wanting to be Erin Brockovich in all areas of life (and rightfully so), but when it comes to dating they want to be Scarlett O'Hara and be swept off their feet and completely taken care of by Rhett Butler. Seems a bit unrealistic and hypocritical to me. There is a hell of a lot more to romance, chemistry, and connection than who pays for what. These women are sending a passive message that having your shit together, being charming, witty, intelligent, fun, and paying for the majority of things isn't enough, that I have to be all of those things and your sugar daddy too, when you are every bit as successful as me. Perhaps it is a Mars & Venus thing, and women don't view it this way at all, so they don't even realize that they are sending this message to me passively.

There is a scene in the movie A Bronx Tale where an older guy is explaining to the teenage boy character how to tell if a woman is a "keeper": when he opens the passenger door in his car to let her in, if she reaches over and unlocks his door while he is walking around the car then that shows some consideration and she passes the test so to speak. I am reminded of that when I am on dates now and women either offer to buy a round of drinks or pay for anything. The "keeper" part has nothing to do with money and everything to do with the attitude and consideration showed by simply offering once and a while. The women that offer make me think, this is the kind of person I would want to be with, a considerate woman is into sharing the joys as well as the challenges of being together.

Am I baked when I think it is fair for a man to pay for everything on date 1 but then expect at least an occasional offer after that? Or is there some rule where the dude is expected to pay for everything X amount of times before a woman even says something like "Let me get this round - you paid for everything last time and bought dinner tonight"?

Would Kanye say she IS a golddigger?

Again, please understand that this is not about the money it is about the attitude, because I am guessing that if you don't know me personally and you read this it will sound like I am bitching about money.

And I don't hate these women, I just don't understand where they are coming from. Which I suppose makes me no different than any other man who makes any attempt to logically understand women.

Now then, you are free to tell me what a moron I am.

***Update, 11.14 p.m. PST***

I just re-read this and there are 2 things that I want to make clear:

1) I am not insinuating that all women in SF or anywhere else are like this. I have just had multiple experiences with this in the last year or so. I would guess that for everytime I experience this with a woman there are 2 that seem to know what time it is so to speak, so it's seems to run at a rate of 1 in 3. Also, major props to the ladies who are considerate enough to offer. I actually just got in from a first date who offered to help out with the dinner bill, which actually makes 2 women in a row for me that have done so. I still paid the bill in both cases, but it was very cool of them to even offer to assist.

2) I am not a jaded bitterman about the whole thing; this just evolved from a converstaion that I had recently about this subject with a friend who had some similar experiences. Again, I don't have any hatred for women who act this way, I just don't understand where they are coming from.

Will Emirates Stadium Affect Arsenal's On The Field Play?

Saturday is the opening match of the EPL season and Arsenal's first competitive match at their shiny new 60,000 seat Emirates Stadium.

I got to thinking today (always dangerous): The pitch (field) at Highbury was the smallest in England and one of the smallest in Europe, measuring 110 yards long by 73 yards wide.

Highbury: famously narrow

In contrast, the size of the field at Emirates Stadium is much larger than at Highbury and is one of biggest fields in England and Europe. It measures 123.5 yards long and 83 yards wide. That is a pretty big difference: 13.5 yards longer and 10 yards wider; 10,250 square yards at Emirates compared to 8,030 square yards at Highbury. By my calculations that is a whopping 28% larger field.

Emirates: wide open spaces

Will this affect Arsenal at all, be it positively or negatively? Their game is based on two things: pace and quick short passing. I would think that the bigger spaces would suit their style and strengths even more, as they would have more space to maneuver, although they will lose the advantage of familiarity in playing in a home field that is quirky. I'm thinking that they team with the most fitness and speed would benefit from a larger field size, and opposing teams that play 4-5-1 and try to clog the midfield to slow down the Arsenal attack will find it a bit more difficult on the significantly larger field. At the same time, I would think Arsenal will need to concentrate on keeping their shape but expanding their positioning vis a vis one another, and also adjusting some of their short passes to have a little more leg on them.

It reminds me of the Boston Bruins, who played on the smallest ice surface in the NHL at the old Boston Gahden. It was actually smaller than the modern day NHL minimum, but got grandfathered in because the building was so old and could not accomodate anything larger. They were said to have an advantage because they were used to their little bandbox rink and visiting teams were often uncomfortable and cramped. When they moved to the Fleet Centah (or whatever they call it these days) the ice was regulation size and supposedly they lost that advantage. Tough to judge in their case because they have been pretty crappy for the last 10 years.

Anyhow, I will be interested to see if the bigger pitch has any affect at all, as well as what they players have so say about it over the next few months.

Thierry Henry is so incredibly dangerous when given space to operate, and especially in 1-on-1 situations in space; I would guess that he is licking his lips with anticipation to play on this field.


***Update 18 Aug 10.02 a.m.***

I think the size that I quoted above is not neccessarily the size of the lined pitch but rather the size of the grass area. I got the number from the official Arsenal/Emirates site's key facts page, which says "Size of the grass area will be 113m by 76m. Compared to 105m by 70m at Highbury."

I have spent a good half hour searching on line to try to confirm the actual dimensions of the playing field, and I cannot find any actual numbers, just a bunch of people commenting on how it is much bigger. I also remember Myles talking about how wide the pitch is and saying "it's the widest pitch in the premiership" when he went to the first public opening of the stadium on members day.

If anybody finds the confirmed size of the actual playing field please let me know in the comments below. Thanks.

PGA Championship Underway

So the year's final major starts today at Medinah, where Tiger outlasted Sergio in 1999 to win his first PGA title. The course this year is the longest in major championship history, measuring out ant an insane 7,561 yards. Par is 72, which means that Tiger is a 50/50 shot to win, but the par5s are not reachable like they were at the British Open. It looks like only 2 of them will be reachable in two, and just barely at that.

Each year at the PGA the players are paired in groups of 3 for the first 2 rounds. Traditionally the 3 winners of the year's first 3 majors are paired together; this year that means Tiger, Phil, and Geoff Oglivy. That in itself will be interesting to watch, because it is always fun to watch Tiger & Phil try to pretend that they don't hate each other. The best example of this was when they were paired together as teammates in a Ryder Cup Fourball match and they barely spoke to each other for 18 holes; it was no suprise that they lost the match even though they were #1 & #2 in the world at the time.

It's fun to watch these two try to hide
their contempt for each other

The other interesting thing about the PGA is that Ryder Cup spots are on the line, and a couple of guys will play themselves onto or off the teams this week.

The PGA has a tendency to produce out of nowhere champions (Shaun Micheel, Rich Beem) or have giants of the game win (Phil, Tiger, Vijay). So who will win this week? I have Tiger against the field at 3-1 odds in my ongoing bet with SD, and since he is 9 for 17 on par 72 majors the odds of the bet are actually in my favor. So let's say either Tiger wins or someone out of nowhere wins.

Also, my condolences go out to one of my favorite golfers, Darren Clarke, and his family after his wife Heather lost her 2 year battle with breast cancer last weekend.

If you are stuck in a cubicle today and tomorrow you can follow all of the action here. Also, you can find The Golf Channel's coverage here. Enjoy.

***Update 11.48 a.m. PST***
Tiger, Phil, and Oglive all shot 3 under 69 and are currently tied for 7th. Lucas Glover leads at 6 under after shooting 66.

The par5s are more reachable than I thought they would be. They just said on TNT that Tiger has won the last 6 majors where he shot in the 60s in his 1st round, which of course means exactly nothing.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Kanu's Book Club: I Won't Be Hitting The Drive Through For A While

I finished Fast Food Nation this weekend and I cannot recommend it enough. Although it was written 4 years ago, it is still extremely current and relevant to anyone who eats fast food or has a child who eats food from the school cafeteria, which is damn near everyone in this country.

Eating too much of this?

I thought the book would have a narrow focus just on fast food, but the book does an excellent job of showing how the fast food industry affects so many other aspects of American life and now life in other countries as well, covering everything from health, agriculture, immigration, labor practices, ranching, urban sprawl, politics, and how the meat goes from cow to burger. The slaughterhouse chapter alone may very well turn you into a vegetarian, at least for a week or two.

Then read this.

Eric Schlosser does an excellent job of presenting his story in an informative way without being too preachy or succumbing to some of the over the top Michael Moore-esque touches that in the end do not augment one's argument but undermine it. If you're like me and are interested in how things work and how things get done behind the scenes then you will love this book. One cool thing is that California chain In-N-Out Burger actually got serious praise from the author.

I didn't eat a lot of fast food to begin with (now that I don't have regular access to Chick-Fil-A) and I eat red meat pretty rarely, but after reading this book I won't be eating either for while. I have already opted out of eating burgers/fries etc a few times since finishing the book; hopefully this will linger longer than a few days or a week.

A really interesting read that I cannot recommend enough.

Next on my list was going to be Behind The Curtain about soccer in Eastern Europe, but apparently the book is unavailable in the US. Instead I think I'll just read Schlosser's follow up book Reefer Madness, about black markets in the US.

Somewhere In Miami, There Lives An Asshole

Saturday in the mail I get a letter from a law firm in Utah that begins, "Our law firm has been retained to collect from you the total amount due below." According to them I owe DirectTV $220. Funny thing is I have never been a DirecTV customer. So I ring them up thinking that they simply got me confused with another Kanu. She asks for the last 4 digits of my SSN and I am completely suprised that they match.

- "Have you ever lived to Miami?"
- "I've never even been to Miami".
- "Sir, you have been the victim of identity theft."

Well fan-fucking-tastic. Now I am getting wrapped up in an endeavor involving this law firm, the police department, and Equifax, so I'm sure it will be quick, efficient, and relatively stress free.

So fuck you Mr. Miami Kanu Impostor Guy. The next time a monster hurricane is bearing down on Dade County I will be hoping that your house and the DirectTV on top of it are completely destroyed.

It could be worse though. I could be ex-NBA star Eddie Johnson, and a bunch of news services could have erroneuosly put out my bio, info, and picture in a story about how another ex-NBA dude named Eddie "Fast Eddie" Johnson was arrested for molesting an 8 year old girl. I'd make a witty remark about how "Fast Eddie" went to Auburn, but there is nothing at all funny about sexual assault on a little girl, so we'll just say that the situation sucks all around.

Hopefully I can get my situation sorted out, Eddie Johnson can get his good name restored, and Fast Eddie can get molested by some 400 pound sweaty man in prison.

Friday, August 11, 2006

ESPN Shittastic Coverage Swallows ABC Sports Whole

ESPN and their ever declining coverage of sports will now be available on network TV, so people with no cable and only a bitchin set of rabbit ears can see just how terrible it has become.

ABC Sports is formally dead, heretofore to be replaced by something called "ESPN on ABC". There was already a ton of "synergy" going on between the two Disney owned networks, in terms of on air talent and programming, and with the Monday Night Football franchise moving from ABC to ESPN this fall . So the changes won't be all that drastic, but surely ESPN will bring their "Sportstainment" philosophy over to ABC and push it more prominently via this outlet. So expect a whole bunch more crap that has little or nothing to do with sports. If the cable package in the cave you have been living in doesn't offer ESPN, then you can get an idea of how unbearably bad it has become here (the only blogpost I have ever seen with 1000+ comments, where incidentally some dude named Jeff has basically started his own blog).

But never fear, because according to George Bodenheimer, the president of ESPN, "the opportunity to marry the ESPN brand to the ABC Television Network to better serve fans is what this is all about". I'm guessing that it has more to do with "streamlining" your corporate structure and operational overhead to "increase shareholder value".

Keith Jackson has apparently resigned from ABC Sports once and for all, partially over this. I'm guessing that it is not because his broadcasts last year were laced with senile inaccuracies and flat out screwups (calling FGs good that missed & vice versa), but more likely because this season ESPN on ABC wanted him to do poetry slams with Stuart Scott at halftime of each PAC10 game of the week.

What a shame how good ESPN used to be when they were about covering sports for sportsfans, and how the fundamental shift in emphasis since being acquired by Disney towards entertainment in an effort to draw in non-sports fans has created such an utterly shitty and ever expanding behometh of "sports entertainment".

Please just don't mess with college football or college basketball anymore. Your "sportstainment" garbage has already reduced College GameDay from must see TV to borderline waste of time, just as you have done with SportsCenter, which is now completely unwatchable. And please leave horse racing alone - your coverage of that is one of the few things that has remained stellar from the good old days (Ron Franklin and Andy Katz being the others). Hopefully the fact that it is so relatively unpopular means that there is a chance that you will leave it alone.

If I ever meet an ESPN exec, I will have to give them the Costanza-to-Steinbrenner treatment, but then they would hire me and I’d be really conflicted.