Monday, June 19, 2006

What You Should Be Reading Instead
of the Rubbish On Offer Here

I certainly appreciate you stopping by for your World Cup needs , but I would be remiss if I didn't hip you to some great World Cup writing out there. As I stated last week, if you are a casual fan and you only read one article on the World Cup this year, read this one. Otherwise, peruse all the yummy goodness below. And if none of that catches your fancy, then you can always just hang out here with me and Swindle.

Must See TV: Required Reading
Myles Palmer: First up is Myles Palmer, a soccer journalist I have been reading for years and one of 2 regular columnists on the site Arsenal News Review. The non-Myles stuff on there is very good, but he is the best soccer writer I have come across, and every one of his articles is informative and insightful. His perspective on England, as well as France, and Brasil over the last week have been just amazing, and if you don't care for Arsenal then be advised that he manages to write about the World Cup without being a total Arsenal homer who only wants to talk about the Gooners in the Cup. I can't say it enough; go to the site, and take a few minutes to read all the WC articles on there, then bookmark it and make sure you check it every day. Can't recommend it enough. If, of all this stuff, you only choose to look at one thing, look at this. It's that good.

The Legend of Bobbeh
: Next up is the absolutely legendary Bobby McMahon over at Fox. He is writing a blog that is updated frequently during the day. If Myles is the best soccer writer out there, Bobbeh is the best soccer commentator. Period. And to top that off, dude is Scottish-Canadian, so be sure to see him each night on Fox Soccer Channel's Ticket To Germany show for his outstanding insight. He has one of the most excellent accents you will ever hear. If you like college football, then I am here to tell you that he is better at soccer than Herbstreit is on CFB. Into NCAA hoops? He's better at soccer than Andy Katz is on college roundball. Horse Racing? He is as good at soccer as Randy Moss is at the Sport of Kings. Read his blog and watch him on FSC for the best analysis out there, bar none (FYI: When normal FSC service is resumed after the WC, you can catch Bobbeh's always brilliant analysis on the Fox Sports World Report on Mondays and Fridays).

Two words: The Man.

Goal Post: Plain and simple. The absolute best World Cup blog out there, by Franklin Foer and friends. It is so good that it actually ties Myles for this statement: If, of all this stuff, you only choose to look at one thing, look at this. It's that good. And with 10 contributors there is much more content each day for your viewing pleasure.

Proper Football in the Football Americano Blogosphere
Despite a few haters here and there, I have really been blown away at how many CFB bloggers are not only interested in proper football but are covering it on their sites. I am sure that I am missing some, but here's a rundown.

Ladies' First: Nicole over at Cute Sports is very much into footie, and is writing some good stuff, as well as posting pictures of hott boys (but I must say Nicole - Raul and Reyes are much hotter than Torres in my humble opinion). Always good to get the female perspective on things, so check out her site.

The Sports Economist: Excellent, intelligent writing and commentary not just on the soccer but also about the business and cultural aspects of the tournament. Required reading for the thinking man soccer fan, or dorks like me with Masters degrees in Sports Management who find this type of stuff fascinating.

DC Trojan: Another fine site that I just recently got turned onto. Dude is all over the WC with lots of interesting things to say.

Braves & Birds: Michael is writing lots of good stuff on the WC, in addition to his coverage of sports ITP (Inside The Perimeter for non-ATLiens). I enjoy commenting on his site even though we may disagree, because I really respect people like him who understand the difference between a discussion and an argument.

MGOBlog: On my first foray to the Big House of Michigan blogs, I completely misunderstood something Brain wrote in an otherwise well written article, put my foot directly into my mouth, and made an ginormous ass of myself in the comments. The second time I went over there I was engaging in some respectful debate when I was summarily attacked by a hater, who I had to completely annihilate in a debate that would have been stopped if it was a boxing match. Now we are past the akward phase, and I am so happy that Brian has even joined the ranks of people ditching the US coverage of the WC and joining the Univision Revolution. Oh, and he writes some excellent stuff on the WC between all of the maize & blue lovin' and scarlett & gray hatin'.

Roll 'Bama Roll: Nice site by Nico, just got hipped to it in the last week. Frequent WC posts and diaries in the right hand pane. Official WC headquarters of AL The Elephant.

Burnt Orange Nation: Occasional WC posting and interactive diaries in the right hand pane. I must say that Peter Bean is a gentleman and a scholar. Oh, and if you stop by then take a minute to check out the Texas Longhorn cheerleaders in their buttless chaps.

Sometimes I regret turning down UT for grad school and staying at UGA. This is one of those times.

LD at Gunslingers: After writing informative and interesting previews for all 32 teams, LD is covering the WC like a seal, staying underwater for a while and then coming to the surface to give you his thoughts on things, which are always interesting. Also, widely noted as the first and best articulator of the narrative presented by Disney.

Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer: Warren St. John is usually the jump-off for wacky-ass sportsfan behavior, and he always has plenty of footy. For reasons unknown he has been underground for a while, but his site is so excellent that it is worth checking back every couple of days to see if he has emerged from watching the WC in his underground bunker at a Cheney-esque undisclosed location. Where you at WSJ?

Friend of Baconboy: Baconboy has a buddy who is over in Germany travelling, going to matches, and taking it all in. Although both a Gator and a ManUtd fan, he seems a fine lad so we'll offer up his friend for one and all, but Baconboy must vouch for him, just like Matt Damon had to vouch for Ed Norton, Jr. in Rounders. I hope for his sake that this gets him into much less trouble.

That's main stream media in blogosphere parlance.

Soccernet: One of the very few things left on earth that ESPN is involved with that is very good. Excellent site with many good commentators. My favorite is Phil Ball, who during the year writes a weekly column on soccer in Spain. They also have columnists who usually write about the German Bundisliga and Serie A in Italy, so they bring a weath of knowledge and show what the Cup looks like through the perspective lens of their respective beats if you will.

World Soccer: Lots of good info, including columns from likable editor Gavin Hamilton and crusty windbag curmudgeon Brain Glanville, who although being a bit of a miserable old prick is required reading because he aas been around forever and you always learn something interesting, usually from way back, every time you read one of his tricky-to-follow columns.

Straight From The Source: Excellent coverage from the English language version of leading German newspaper Der Spiegel. Another good site with some really good columnists, my favorites being The Limey for their great English perspective and wit, as well as Gabrielle Marcotti, whose columns and mailbag pieces I have always enjoyed. His columns are a bit Italy-centric, so if you like the Azzurri then you definitely need to check him out. And Rick Reilly is even entertaining sometimes.

The Beeb: The best mainstream media coverage based in London-town, courtesy of the BBC.

The Guardian: BBC too old-school stuffy Brit for you? Try the Guardian on for size.

The Gray Lady: If you are one of those people for whom every written word on paper not belonging to The New York Times is hopelessly inferior to what is there, then they have you covered.

Washington Post: If this, not the NYT, is your bag, then here you go.

The Boston Globe: Kanu's hometown paper, for all you chowdaheads who like your WC coverage to be wicked good!

LA Times: If I put the NYT, the Post and the Globe, then I have to put the LAT or risk the wrath of LA native Solon, for whom the LA Times is the best paper in the world at pretty much everything.

Kanu's Book Club: 2006 World Cup Edition
Finally, I highly recommend the following book, which I picked up last week and is very topical. Titled The Thinking Fan's Guide To The World Cup, it has a chapter on each of the 32 nations competing in this World Cup, written by someone from that nation. There is also lots of fascinating facts, figures, and information on all 32 nations. I have only read the Czech chapter so far, which talks about the Velvet Revolution and the resulting changes in Czechoslovakia both on and off the pitch, but I really look forward to reading the rest.

Get it. Today.

I'll tease you with the back cover:

* Former Foreign Minister of Mexico Jorge G. Castaneda invites George W. Bush to watch a game.

* Novelist Robert Coover remembers soccer in Spain after the death of General Francisco Franco.

* Dave Eggers on America, and the gym teachers who kept it free from communism.

* Time magazine's Tokyo bureau chief Jim Frederick shows how soccer is displacing baseball in Japan

* Novelist Aleksander Hemon proves, once and for all, that sex and soccer do not mix.

* The New Yorker's Cressida Leyshon on Trinidad and Tobago, 750-1 underdogs

* Fever Pitch author Nick Hornby on the conflicting call of club and country

* Plus an afterward on Franklin Foer on the form of government most likely to win the World Cup.

I highly recommed that you pick it up; it makes for outstanding and topical reading over the next 3 weeks.

I am sure that there is more good stuff out there that I don't even know is there, so feel free to share you favorites in the comment section.

Enjoy, and thanks again for stopping by.


Anonymous said...

The Thinking Fans Guide... is a superb read. It's impressive when there's only a few clunkers out of 32 pieces.

I bought it a few weeks before the World Cup started and finished it in Nashville the night of our sorry ass showing against Morocco.

PS - Thanks for the link. I will post more WC goodness once I'm done with this stupid paper that's due on Wednesday.

Anonymous said...

Hey, thanks for the shout-out; I've been enjoying your posts and the guest stuff from Swindle as well. I must give credit where it's due though and point out that DC Trojan has become a team effort with my brother (known as Thistle71) chiming in... although his access may have to be revoked if he starts posting Oregon stuff when college football starts back up.

Astronaut Mike Dexter said...

Ah, Kanu, my good man, you have made the same error made by many writers when writing about girls in chaps. Chaps, which are not the same thing as pants with the ass cheeks cut out, are by definition backless, so any reference to "assless chaps" is a redundancy. Your punishment is to post 10 more pictures of the Texas cheerleaders, with proper captions this time.

Also, I laughed when going back over your explanations of why Univision's soccer coverage is so much better than ESPN's; I was sitting in a restaurant with my mom and dad in the D.C. area Sunday morning, treating pops to a Father's Day brunch, and Univision's World Cup show was on TV. Two of the hottest Brazilian chicks I've ever seen in my life (which is saying something) wearing shorts that just barely qualified as "shorts" beats anything ESPN could put up against it -- including, and it gives me no pleasure to admit this, Erin Andrews. Though it might be close.

Kanu said...

Thanks Doug. Click on that link just above the Buttless pants for a bigger version of that one and three others. I hope that this can serve as my penance.

FYI I will still erroneously refer to then as buttless chaps just because, although technically it is wrong, it just sounds so right.

You know I've been a big fan for a long time, so I am humbled to have you here.

Oh and one more thing, whic I have been meaning to post on HJS forever:

Although I know your interest in soccer is very low (and that is jsut fine), as a PET SHOP BUYS uber-fan you need to know this:

"Go West" by PSB is one of the single most used tunes for soccer chants in the world, both for national teams and club teams the world over.

Arsenal allege to have "originated" this, but I can only assume that many many others make the same claim and that it sort of spontaneously blew up out of nothing way back when.

Take Arsenal for instance: their most famous song is "One-nil to The Arsenal!" to the tune of the chorus of "Go West", which is a homage to anearlier time when Arsenal's defense was so amazing that if they went up 1-0 then the match was effectively over:

"1-nil! To the Arsenal,
1-nil! To the Arsenal,
1-nil! To the Arsenal,
1-nil! To the Arsenal!"

If you are ever watching and the sound is on you will hear this from time to time in the stands. Other common versions are:

For any tesm that has just won any competition:

"Stand Up! For the Champions,
Stand Up! For the Champions,
Stand Up! For the Champions,
Stand Up! For the Champions!"

If you happen to catch the England match today you will hear a version of this early and often where Champions is replaced by Engerland.

Again, I know you aren't into soccer, but from what I have read you definitely are familiar and like the song GO WEST!, so it is imperative that you know what a commonly used soccer cchant it is all over the world.

So there it is.

Kanu said...

AS far as wheat you witnessed Sunday between the Brasil & France matches: QUE RIDICULO.

I actually wrote about it extensively on the DAy 10 Random Thoughts / Open thread, and I have it on VHS. I hope to one day figure out how to get it converted to digital, get it on YouTube, and spread the gospel.

Nicole said...

First, gracias for the mention. We chickadees are few and far between out here and it's damn hard to get any cred. God forbid we should know what we're talking about, secondly, and I will be posting this, but your assertions on Raul and Reyes are off.

And finally, Univision's coverage is horrible for two reasons. 1) Every man on there is 52, hairy as hell and as lascivious as possible. How is it that they employ the most impossibly beautiful women and then pair them with the scariest, most unattractive, stalkers of men. If these guys would come within 100 feet of those girls anywhere but at work, they'd get brutally rebuffed.

2) I speak as much Spanish as a white girl from Wisconsin can speak without ever having spent time in a spanish speaking country. I spoke it at work. But trust me, it's rudimentary. Watching Univision when you actually know what's going on, but not enough to actually keep up, is the biggest headache I've ever had. I tried watching without sound, it's no good.