Monday, April 30, 2007

Just to prove I'm getting old(er) and bitter(er)

A partial list of bands/artists I can do without:

-A.F.I.
-Lilly Allen
-The All American Rejects
-Arcade Fire
-Arctic Monkeys
-Bright Eyes
-Dashboard Confessional
-Death Cab For Cuite
-Fall Out Boy
-The Fray
-Gnarls Barkley
-Interpol
-Kaiser Chiefs
-The Killers
-Lady Sovereign
-LCD Soundsystem
-John Mayer
-Modest Mouse
-My Chemical Romance
-O.K. Go
-Panic at the Disco
-The Shins
-Snow Patrol
-Amy Winehouse


That'll do for now.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Fox Soccer Channel

Let me begin by saying how thankful I am for the Fox Soccer Channel. I have to pay extra to get it on my cable plan, and I have to overlook the fact that it is owned by Rupert Murdoch, yet I still enjoy it immensely- so much so that its becoming a regular thing for me to get up earlier than usual on weekends to make sure that I can watch as much soccer as possible before going to work.

(wait for it...)

However, it has also reminded me of how bad announcing tandem, or in this case, a HORRIBLE announcing team, can ruin even the best match. I speak of "play-by-play" man Max Bretos and his partner, "the eclectic analyst with an ever-evolving accent"* Christopher Sullivan.

Mr. Bretos (also a commentator/interviewer for the WWE- I'll allow you to insert your own comment...) has one fundamental problem as an analyst- he doesn't know how to analyze! He generally spends ninety minutes overreacting to underwhelming on-field action, missing important action because he is too busy with other minutiae, interjecting barely-relevant trivia and non-sequitors, and being snarky and generally quite pleased with himself. Put more concisely, he's an ass.

Mr. Sullivan is equally bad, but much more intriguing.

I know enough about the beautiful game to know that Mr. Sullivan knows the beautiful game, which makes his work that much more frustrating. Mr. Sullivan played in a quality collegiate program, fashioned decent professional career for himself mainly in the pre-MLS period (no small achievement), and represented our country on almost twenty occasions. And yet... The best description I can give of his, ah, "problem," is that he sounds like a man trying to make himself understood on the more intricate points of the game in a language he has only recently learned to speak. His attempts to find appropriate vocabulary to make his points are something between Sisyphean and Tantalusian. The problem is exacerbated by his labored syntax and diction. His speech often reminds me of my high school days when my direct translations of German sentences into English looked something like, "He the ball kicked." Finally, his commentary is further garbled by his penchant for speaking what I can only describe as "Spangloguese."** Mr. Sullivan inists on putting much of his soccer specific knowledge into the various languages of which he may or may not have an understanding.*** To call something a "bicycle" or "overhead" kick is not enough, it must be a chileno. This would almost make sense if he used the foreign language terminology when he was commenting on a game from one of the relevant countries, but alas...

The combination of all of these things is that he sounds like somebody who has suffered a traumatic brain injury in the past, but whose friends and family now lovingly, proudly, and maybe a little patronizingly, say of him, "He's really doing quite well!" This is all the more troubling given that he is a native English speaker and a college graduate with a degree in business and finance!

I've got no end to this post except to say, there are plenty of great announcers out there who do work in the English language- Martin Tyler and John Motson come to mind.

I think this was my longest post ever.

*Credit for this apt description goes to Michael Connolly at ussoccerplayers.com

**His Spangloguese is sometimes supplemented by French and Italian- "Fretalian""

***Unlike English, I was able to find confirmation that he speaks Spanish and Italian.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Spring is here...

...and at the risk of sounding cheesy, it's a wonderful thing to sleep with the windows open, and better yet, being only a few footsteps from the Connecticut River, I can hear the low roar of the falls at the same time.

Very nice, indeed.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

EPL-USA

Not many people will care about the following, but I do.

After watching a few Champions League matches today, and the the EPL Review show I was impressed by how well American soccer was represented in what might be the best league in the world. Some may argue that over any given period there may be a better league (Serie A, the Bundesliga, the Primera Division, etc.), but at the moment three of the four teams still remaining in the Champions League are English and that, I feel, is a good barometer of league quality.

Here’s the breakdown:

Manchester United: No American players.
Chelsea: No American players.
Liverpool: No American players.
Arsenal: No American players.

Bolton Wanderers: One American player.
-Johann Smith: On loan to Carlisle United.

Everton: One American player.
-Tim Howard: Starting goalkeeper.

Tottenham Hotspur: No American Players.
Portsmouth: No American players.

Reading: Two American players.
-Marcus Hahnemann: Starting goalkeeper
-Bobby Convey: Currently injured.

Newcastle United: One American player.
-Oguchi Onyewu: on loan from Standard Li├Ęge.

Blackburn Rovers: One American player.
-Brad Friedel: Starting goalkeeper for the last seven years.

Manchester City: One American player.
-DaMarcus Beasley: on loan from PSV Eindhoven.

Middlesbrough: No American players.
Aston Villa: No American players.

Fulham: Three American players.
-Brian McBride: Team’s leading scorer.
-Carlos Bocanegra: Team’s second leading scorer.
-Clint Dempsey: A starting player as of late.

Wigan Athletic: No American players.

Charlton Athletic: One American player.
-Cory Gibbs: Rehabilitating a knee injury.

Sheffield United: No American players.

West Ham United: One American player.
-Jonathan Spector: Starting defender.

Watford: One American player.
-Jay DeMerit: Starting defender.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

The Funniest Thing I Read Today

This description of Canada appeared in an article on Gawker.com today: "...the large mass of semi-arable land blocking Montana's view of the Arctic..."

I actually have a lot of respect/love for "America-without-the-handguns," but that's just plain funny.

Monday, April 02, 2007

It's Opening Day!

On the 4oth anniversary of the "Impossible Dream" season I offer a little salute to my (and my Aunt's) favorite player ever.

How far does Red Sox Nation reach? My aunt has lived in Australia for almost 30 years and she still celebrates Yaz's birthday every August.

The first pitch is in half an hour...

... GO SOX!!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

The Sneaker Fetish...continues




Puma Tri-Sock running shoes: they're even more limey in person!


Adidas Forest Hills Vintage: to quote one of my favorite movies, they are "money."

Merrell Full Pursuit Gore-Tex XCR: they'd be awesome even if I hadn't paid about 25% of their actual price!