Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Kaiser Waffles: Beckenbauer Changes His Tune

Back in October 2008, Kevin Kuranyi was kicked off the German national soccer team for leaving the stadium at halftime, angry that he hadn't even made the bench. In response, Coach Joachim Löw banned him from the team as long as he was coach.

At the time, Franz Beckenbauer, former star player/coach and head of the German Soccer Federation, said "He not only let the coach down but also his teammates. I can't imagine he'll ever play again for Germany. He would have to go down on his knees to Jogi Löw."

Today, he said this:

"This categorical 'No' has always disturbed me," said Beckenbauer, a member of the football federation's board and still the most influential voice in German football. "A lifelong ban for a football player? I always thought this was stretching things."

Since Kuranyi has not gone down on his knees to the coach, this just makes Beckenbauer's status as a second-guesser even more solid. Remember, this is the guy who was unwilling to support Klinsmann -- until Klinsi's team made the semis of the 2006 World Cup. Then, of course, Becki claimed he'd always believed in Klinsi. Jackhole.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Ever Wonder What Kramer Is Up To These Days?

You Facebook bastards go HERE for video. So, as you Seinfeld fans know, Kramer had several aliases during the show's run, most notably Martin Van Nostrand. However, in the last season*, he played the role of Professor Pennypacker, a wealthy industrialist.

While he claimed to be opening salt mines or Saab factories or generally tussling with Kel Varnsen,

I've discovered his antics after the show. He entered the distilling business. That's right -- Kramer is making hooch.

It's got long legs, salty overtones of the beach, and has the lure of the animal. Pennypacker -- the timeless art of seduction. In a bottle.

* Season(s)? I'm not googling this. Bloggers state facts, not check them.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

My Pre-Tournament Ritual

I have a ritual before tournaments, and since I have another Ultimate DeLux camp this weekend to prep for worlds, I'm following the routine. What is it, you ask?

It's a two-part process. First, I clean the dirt caked onto my cleats after the last tournament. Then, I swear to myself that I will never just leave the cleats in the cleat bag after playing and will instead clean them right away.

Unfortunately, step one of my post-tournament routine is telling myself I can just clean my cleats on Monday.

This Is Why I'm Not An Atheist

I know that some people claim that the priests that sexually abused children are proof of their atheist beliefs, but for me it's the opposite. I have to believe in a higher power that is going to serve up an eternity of hell to these fuckers and ESPECIALLY to the asshats who thought that continually moving them and putting them to work with kids in impoverished areas helped the Church. It's especially comforting to know that Pope Lite was so concerned about the doctrine of the church that he ignored the issue while in his previous post.

Here endeth the rant.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

2010 NCAA Musings, Day 3 Live Blogging -- Part 2

8:18 - Microsoft isn't inspiring me with confidence that, apparently, their only cool feature is shaking a window to hide the others. Neat, but I've seen it & nothing else for 3 days.

8:35 - Murray St - Butler is tough to snark, since i like both. Hopefully there will be some jackholery to allow me to pick a side. Though Butler's beginning to show Murray where the woodshed is located.

8:41 - Is Obama getting blamed for the annoying Census ads? I think he should be.

8:51 - Lowe's, you need a better ad agency. Maybe you can get in touch with Buick's "We are proud to distract our drivers from driving" agency. Just don't go with Team Wig Boy.

8:54 - "Canaan" is a great last name ("Land of", Boomer?), but The Sports Guy and Isaiah Thomas ruined "Isaiah" as a hoops name for me.

9:02 - One great thing about streaming on the interwebs is the awkward silences when the feed comes back before the tv feed. Good times.

9:04 - One of the downsides to March Madness is when a close game, like this one, is a yawner due to boring styles of play.

9:06 - Alabama has a state dunk competition? Is it mandatory to try to jump over a cow to win?

9:10 - Miller Lite has an iPhone app? Have they just accepted that their beer is going to suck and are now working on apps instead? It seems like a clear-headed move.

9:40 - Now that I've actually watched Don Draper's ad, I don't get it. Are they implying the Mercedes would allow you to survive the crash? It's a much better ad on radio.

9:49 - Great camera work to catch the fan waiting for a high five, then tapping his buddy to point out his hand.

9:59 "He makes a good defensive play, gets all ball. And some body." I love scrub announcers!

10:30 - A bad ending -- a turnover on the last-second play is sooooo anticlimactic.

2010 NCAA Musings, Day 3 Live Blogging -- Part 1

The combo of dinner with friends and a late day at work meant no NCAAs for me last night. Which is ok -- all the good games were on Thursday.

6:00 - One thing I hate about CBS -- they never show replays of bad calls during the NCAAs. Like the horrid opening tip toss.

6:18 - My tasty Mönchshof beer distracted me until a ludicrous three by one of the Aussie Marys.

6:20 - I realize that algae for fuel is a great idea, but it makes for a bad commericial. Unlike, say, cool new video games. Which are just short of having movie-quality graphics. Wow.

6:21 - "Betts, I'm buying a Mercedes because I'm living a lie" or that's what I heard Don saying. I think BMW should hire Roger to be their pitchman.

6:23 - I'm not sure why I've always cheered against 'Nova, but I have. I think it's because all Big (L)East teams annoy the crap out of me. Georgetown is at the top of the list, of course. Followed closely by Syracuse. So, I'm cheering for the Marys.

6:25 - The Boss Button rocks. Nice work, Scott Adams!

7:40 - Long call! But I'm back, baby! 9 minutes left and the Marys are down by 2. Not a good sign. Plus the damn Ivan brothers are back.

7:43 - "He walked and got away with it. I like the non-call" Well, Bill, if I wanted to see traveling go uncalled, I'd log onto Though they don't have free live streaming, because they don't want Germans watching their product.

7:45 - UPS saves "thousands of pounds" of CO2 emissions per day with more right turns? I find that a bit of a stretch. Especially coming from wig-boy.

7:58 - The Miller Light commercial is funny, but it perpetuates offensive stereotypes. What man would be dumb enough to be honest and say he would save his beer over his hot girlfriend? Give us some credit, Miller.

8:06 - "Miracle shot, a bank shot" - It doesn't count if you don't call it. And not to be racist, but it's not a good sign to be down 3 with 40 seconds left -- to a team with a bunch of short white guys. If sports movies have taught me anything, it's that THEY HIT FREE THROWS.

8:09 - I like Murray, but couldn't they get the Conchords, too? I'm thinking that they have free time.

8:10 - I forgot that 'Nova almost/should have lost to Robert Morris. Man, the Big East sucks.

8:11 - Unless you're an extra in "Slap Shot", the sweaty-bangs-two-color-mouthpiece look is a bad choice.

8:12 - "Life Remains"?!? 'Nova is down 4 with 12.6 seconds left, and Reggie Miller is out of college eligibility.

8:16 - Bad for the bracket, good for the soul -- another Big East team bites the dust. Cue Don Draper.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

2010 NCAA Musings, Day 1 Live Blogging -- Part 2

9:22pm -- We've got ourselves another barn-burner here! Vandy is doing a great job of keeping Murray State in the game. If your team makes a run with the star on the bench, at what point do you bring him back in?

9:45 - Ouch. That sucks for Vandy and my bracket, rocks for me as a fan of hoops.

9:53 - I'll be less sanguine about a Baylor loss, though. I had them surviving the weekend.

10:10 - Talk about opposite ads -- Iron Man 2: exciting, lots of money into it, beautiful people and super cool-looking. UPS: A dude wearing a woman's haircut, this couldn't be lamer if it were FDR entered into a Charleston competition.

10:13 - If you're wondering if it's been a while since your team won an NCAA game, if the highlight photo is B&W of a white guy in shiny, tiny shorts, then it's been a looooong time.

10:20 - The Ivan Brothers writers apparently only had 30 seconds of material. Tubby gets the best line. If it weren't for the What Can Brown Do For You?*, Cap One would be in the top 3 for most annoying ads. Coke Zero is smart enough to shuffle 3 different ads.

10:25 - It's not a good omen for alumni donations when your hoops team is being taken behind the woodshed by the Marys. Ouch.

10:28 - 2 blowouts mean it's time for Breaking Bad...

* Make me want to punch the world's worst drag queen in the face, that's what.

2010 NCAA Musings, Day 1 Live Blogging

8:03pm - I've been watching all of 30 seconds when i hear my first Bill Raftery, "Onions!" call. I love it!

8:05 - My 1st commercial break -- if hope the UPS guy is gone. If I have to watch that jackass again this year, tomorrow I'm punching the guy at my office who shares his haircut.

8:08 - Robert Morris, down by 3 with 40 seconds left in OT, STEALS the ball for a layup -- this is why I love March Madness!

8:11 - If you're playing the Raftery drinking game, drink again because of the inadvertent(?) innuendo, "he's really stroking it tonight"

8:13 - So, is the weekend getaway made sexier by the rental car? I would've thought getting screwed on unannounced fees would've killed the mood. Maybe paying 8$ per gallon on gas is a turn-on? This is the early leader in Annoying Ad of the Year.

8:15 - "They only lost on the scoreboard, Verne" Um, right. And on the court. Most importantly, though -- also on my bracket.

8:26 - The Applebee's commercial reminds that the Northern Exposure guy's voice just annoys the shit out of me. Jon Hamm, on the other hand, makes me think Don Draper is personally selling me a Mercedes. Very cool.

8:28 - An upset in the making! The AT&T 3G commercials look like they can upstage Enterprise!

8:30 - Wow, these internet halftime guys suck. Big time.

8:32 - These Sam Houston bastards (some SFA antagonism there) are trying to really screw with my bracket. Baylor needs to sack up and beat their junk triangle-and-2 zone. At least, in ultimate, it'd be a junk d.

8:36 - Apparently Sam Houston and Baylor both learned their 3-point shooting technique by watching me. This is ugly.

8:38 - How is it that we're in the second decade of this century and rec-specs are still hideous? This seems like a combined failure of nerds and fashionistas.

8:41 - Gilberto? Even in Puerto Rico that sounds like a name that forces a middle school kid to toughen up in a hurry.

8:46 - How does the "High Quality" player look so much worse than the Standard one?

8:54 - Vandy is really working hard to become my first wrong pick. There are a bunch of unhappy, white-cap-wearing douchebags in Nashvegas right now.

DAMMIT! Fing blogger just dropped several witty comments. Including me making fun of the UPS jackhole.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Tech Support Isn't Surly, They Just Hate Snitches

Let's be honest, we've all encountered the unresponsive tech support guy, either at work or with personal tech* issues. I'd always thought that they were incompetent, dissatisfied with their lot in life, or just assholes. However, I realized today that though any or all of these are likely the case, tech support is cranky because they see themselves as being in the mob.

When we call them with some minor problem like our computer is on fire, it's like we're dropping a dime on one of their tech paisans. This, as you may know from watching "Goodfellas, is not looked upon kindly in the world of organized crime. So, tech support is constantly forced to not only talk to a bunch of stool pigeons, but to help them! Now, just imagine Joe Pesci forced to reset your work password, over and over, all day long.

"Am I clown here to amuse you? Or am I an elf to fix things for you?"

We're lucky they merely demonstrate incompetence instead of brutally** beating us to death with a baseball bat.

* Not the kind of "personal tech" you were thinking of! Get your mind out of the gutter!
** Why does "brutal" so often modify "beating"? In my book, it's not much of a beating if it's not brutal.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Putting the "Social" in Socialized Medicine

Like King Wally, I also have found an article that SEEMS like a Onion piece. A nurses' union in the Netherlands is starting a campaign to combat demands that they should provide sexual favors to patients as part of care.

It all started when a patient tried to dismiss a young nurse that refused to, um, give him a "happy ending" -- even though she'd witnessed other nurses doing so as part of his "care".

This brings up a few points:

  1. If I'd changed the location to just "Europe", we'd all have guessed, "The Netherlands", right?
  2. I think this is going to be used by both parties as ammo in the health care debate -- by the GOP to the Christian right and the Dems to Maxim readers.
  3. Did Melinda or Janice* ever do a travel nursing stint in Amsterdam?
* That's "J-Ro" or "Tranny-Girl" to you.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

2010 Resolutions - 10 Beers March Update

FB readers go HERE for pics. After 2 months of no new beers, much less at a brewery (thanks a lot, King Wally). But Margaret bailed me out on our trip to Heidelberg when we stopped by the Vetter Brauerei.The tasty German food was nicely offset by three beers on tap:  a dunkel hefeweizen and a helles:
The helles was ok, but not spectacular. But the dark hefeweizen was quite tasty, and went very well with the food. I finished with the Terminator (and, yes, I did speak Ahnuld-ese).

It was hoppier than I like, but not bad. The verdict? Worth a stop if you're in Heidelberg, but I wouldn't plan a trip around it.

So far this year, I'm sort of halfway to the goal -- 10 new beers tried at the breweries. But I've only been to 2 different breweries. So I need to get cracking on my brewery visits. Fortunately, I have a few in the area I haven't been to.  I'll keep you posted, since I'm sure you're all on the edge of your seats.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

I Told Dad Not To Open Email Attachments

But he did, and now he's in London. I got this email from him, my comments are in [RED].

How are you doing today?. [Dad does love his double punctuation!] I am really sorry to bother you with this email but i just want you to know what i am facing right now.I am sorry that i didn't inform you about my traveling to London UK [Must be clear WHICH London!] for a Seminar [Must be an important seminar to be capitalized!],i am presently in London now [thanks for the heads up -- I thought you were at home recovering from brain surgery!] but unfortunately for me i lost my wallet in a taxi where my money and other valuable things were kept [He keeps his money and valuable things in a taxi? I had no idea].I have limited access to internet for now [not before -- that's how we got to this point] and i am not here with my cell phone.I will like you to assist me urgently with a soft loan of $2,500 USD [Good thing you added the "USD" so I knew what the "$" meant] to sort-out my hotel bills and to get myself back home. I have spoken to the embassy here but they are not responding to the matter effectively [those bastards!],i promise i will pay you back as soon as i return.Kindly let me know if you can be of help so that i can send you the details you will use to send the money to me here in London.

Joe. [Dad ALWAYS puts a period after his name, so it must be real]

I've Got Your Reply All Right Here

I returned from a department meeting* this morning to 14 new emails. 1 was sent to a few distribution lists, 10 were "take me off this distribution list" emails in French because our IT department can't create lists correctly, 2 were "Please don't reply to all" in German, and the last was another "Why did I get this message? This doesn't concern me!" reply to the "please don't reply to all" reply to all message. In fing French. This jackass could see a pile of emails with the same subject line in his Inbox, yet he still felt the need to tell the entire distribution list that this also didn't concern him.

This is exactly the sort of behavior that makes me wish I send an email virus that only took effect if you replied to all.

* Think of the meeting in Star Wars where Vader chokes the guy for belittling the Force.

Monday, March 08, 2010

V For VaJayJay

Facebookers go HERE for photos. I do love me some 'dorf douchebaggery. And Jades is your headquarters in the 'dorf for douche-y apparel (though American Apparel makes a run at the low end of the market) -- where else can you pay 200 Euro for Levis?

A big shoutout to Margaret for naming the shirt & the post!

Friday, March 05, 2010

USA-Netherlands Field Report

OK, not quite "the field" but we were on the first freakin' row, which is pretty close. Facebookers go HERE for photos & video. Photos:

Big shoutout to Davide for getting us primo tickets! How primo? Here's an early Dutch corner:

First, let me tell you, as tasty as Indonesian food is, I'm not sure it's the perfect pregame meal. Tasty, but gassy.

Next, the game was a bit blah for about 70 minutes -- the Dutch dominated possession, but they didn't generate all that many great chances, Except when Bornstein gifted them one at the end of the first half.

But once they got their second goal (pure bad luck for Bornstein & the USA), the US seemed to pop out of their funk and take it to the Dutch. It helped that Dutch players apparently only condition themselves for 75 minutes of play.

Before the game, I predicted a 2-1 Dutch win. With the USA hammering the Dutch keeper in the last 5 minutes, I was on the edge of my seat, hoping for the tie. Of course, after the 2nd Dutch goal, I'd have been thrilled with 2-1. But Bocanegra's sweet header ("a lot of teams guard the guy right in front of the goal" was my comment at the time) and the subsequent US pressure left me feeling disappointed in the result. It was fair, though -- the USA was the better team for only about 15-20 minutes. But at least Goodson had his shot at glory:

Tobias had the line of the night after watching Spector get treated like a well-oiled turnstile for the second time by Elia: "It was good of them to put 'Spectator' on his jersey". Heh.

Other thoughts:

- Jozy Altidore is getting better, but he still needs to SHOOT more.
- Someone put Damarcus Beasley's corpse through the juvenation machine! He started slowly, likely as a result of not warming up (thank you, cheap-shot Dutch!), but played well in the second half.
- Dutch fans are asshats -- when Holden was chopped down, they started whistling & booing and didn't stop until AFTER he was helped off the field.
- Germany has almost no hot female fans. The Dutch have a LOT. Strong work, Holland!
- Being so close allowed us to see more reactions, the most notable when Spector hit a cross field goal-style in the 92nd minute when EJ and Jozy both had mismatches. They were complaining about it to each other afterward -- clearly unhappy.
- Howard is freaking fast for a keeper. He closed out one ball I thought he'd badly misplayed. his distribution is sketchy, though.
- The Dutch are better at possession than any team i've seen, including Brazil and Spain. It might be the angle from the field, but they had some amazing traps and touches -- even Davide (Italian) and Tobias (German) were impressed.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

The Year of Good Books, Redux: January

The Great Game: The Struggle for Empire in Central Asia
- Peter Hopkirk's story of the battle between Russia and Great Britain for dominance in Central Asia is filled with interesting stories, but it's far too anglocentric -- some of the most fascinating people are Russian agents mentioned only as shadowy presences (think Boba Fett in The Empire Strikes Back). However, it's worth reading if only to get an idea of the history of a part of a crucial crossroads between Europe, Asia and the Arabic worlds.

Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us)
- Tom Vanderbilt investigates all things related to traffic and commuting. While it starts slowly, it is filled with lots of fascinating tidbits and trivia that might be useless if not for small talk at parties. Plus, it justifies being a late merger, which is nice.

Poker Nation: A High-Stakes, Low-Life Adventure into the Heart of a Gambling Country
- Andy Bellin's story mixes his personal history as a pro poker player with some information on the history of the game and lots of strategy tips. I'm not a big poker player, but I did find it interesting. For poker junkies (Big Dave), it'll be a good read.

Liar's Poker
- Michael Lewis wrote the definitive book on the attitudes and actions that drove the financial collapse of 2008. Sort of. Technically, it's the non-fiction story of his time on Wall Street (and The City in London) in the mid-80s, but the S&L crisis sounds pretty much identical to the most recent Wall Street fuckup. So, when Jamie Dimon or some other CEO claims that the banks learned their lesson, just ask if they've read this. If they say yes, give them the finger and tell them to shut their piehole. Great read, but incredibly frustrating to realize that nothing changed -- except that regulatory agencies weakened.

The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned Into a War on American Ideals
- Jane Mayer goes in depth to how the Bush Administration, led mainly by Cheney, turned 9/11 into an opportunity to enact sweeping changes that had been rejected during the Reagan administration as too reactionary. It's amazing how a handful of people, including John Yoo and David Addington, wrote memos arguing that a) torture wasn't torture if you were trying to get info and b) even if it is, if the President says it's ok, it's ok. It is amazingly infuriating to realize just how far these guys were from what I consider American ideals (the Geneva Conventions, the rule of law, habeas corpus, etc). It's also incredible how ineffective torture was in getting useful information. For some reason, even though their techniques were based on how the KGB forced false confessions, the men (and a smattering of women) in charge never realized that they were only being told whatever would get the torture to stop.

The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression
- Amity Shales's anti-Roosevelt screed isn't an unbiased history of the Depression. Instead, it's a companion to the traditional narrative* of how the New Deal saved the country. However, she gives almost no information on any positives of the New Deal or of the conditions that spurred it -- the Dust Bowl is barely referenced. However, some of what Roosevelt did and tried to do was amazing, such as his attempt to amend the Constitution to allow him to appoint extra justices to counter ones that disagreed with him and a variety of anti-business proposals. Worth a read, but remember that it's a history with a clear bias -- one that is clear when criticisms of government spending and jobs programs are criticized only when they are for non-war programs.

Learnding Is Fun!

Facebookers should go here to see the video -- though it's just the SNL Digital Short "Flags of the World". Which, of course, makes me a Very Lazy Blogger.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Gimpy JT Is Back!

Though hopefully not for long. I managed to somehow sprain an ankle after blocking a shot in indoor soccer. This is perfect, as I was beginning to miss not having my right foot elevated and iced. RICE is back, baby!

I Sure Could Go For A Molson!

Facebookers go here for video. If you've seen this, pardon me my inner 12-year-old as I laugh at this.