Archive for February, 2012
There’s a Brazilian soccer forward named Hulk. Hulk! Not “Roberto Hulk”, or “Hulk de los Fuentes”. Just Hulk. How awesome is that? Now, if he named his nuts “Bruce” and “Banner” that would be pretty cool. Or maybe it wouldn’t, since Bruce Banner is just a skinny scientist. Maybe he could name them “Doc” and “Samson” – yes, that’s a super-strong frenemy of the Incredible Hulk’s. Yes, I’m a dork. Anyways, I’m feeling inspired. Here are some other cool comic book names for forwards:
- Doctor Octopus. On second thought, this would be better for a goalie.
- Doctor Doom. Guaranteed to score, and then blow your head off with some sort of weird electromagnetic death ray.
- Cyclops. Only because I’d like to see some dude running around the soccer pitch with a pair of “uni-sunglasses” like George Carlin wore in Bill & Ted’s.
- The Thing. Is he going to shoot on me? Or is he going to punt me into the twenty-second row? Eek!
- Black Panther. Menacing, but only works for a black guy. If you’re a white guy, then you’re “White…” what? Rhino? Too slow. Lightning? Lame-ning. Zombie? Kinda counteracts the idea of scoring. “White” doesn’t really fit with anything cool.
- Doctor Fate. Look, the ball’s going in. You may think it’s not, but it is. Ok, how ‘bout this: if it doesn’t go in, I’ll kill you and dump your body in another dimension. Agreed?
- Red Tornado. He’s a tornado. He doesn’t need to shoot rays from his eyes or change into a chupacabra.
- Elongated Man. I could go a few directions with this. Suffice to say, he’s gonna score. And then he’s gonna score. I love me some double-entendre.
- Invisible Girl and Lady Luck. No explanation needed.
- Whizzer. Hahaha – “Whi –
Alright, I’ve officially left the rails. To wrap this up, Hulk is now the coolest name for a soccer player, besting the previous coolest name, Fred. Is it a coincidence that both these guys are Brazilian? No. The existence of a soccer player named Hulk only reaffirms my opinion that soccer is the coolest sport on earth, and Brazilians are insane. In a good way.
Here’s a cool song:
Caution: The following post is about soccer – or, “football” as it’s referred to in 195 other countries. If reading about soccer, thinking about soccer, or simply hearing the word “soccer” whispered in the next room causes vomiting, hysteria, conniption fits or Cornholio-eque behavior, please do not read further. Thank you.
Here are the current standings for the 2011-12 Scottish Premier League (SPL) season:
1st place: Celtic: 65 points. Goal differential: +37
2nd place: Rangers: 61 points (not counting the 10-point deduction they were hit with for entering bankruptcy). Goal differential: +36
3rd place: Motherwell: 42 points. Goal differential: +2
A super-competitive, edge-of-your-seat, nail-biter of a league — if you’re a fan of Celtic or Rangers. Everyone else is in “why bother?” mode before the preseason kicks off, and it’s been this way for years. Celtic/Rangers, Rangers/Celtic, and then everybody else. The identity of the third place team changes every year; sometimes it’s Motherwell, sometimes it’s Hearts, sometimes it’s Hibernian or someone else. Beyond Celtic and Rangers, no other team has established itself on a year-in, year-out basis. This year, of the 12 teams that currently play in the SPL, only three have winning records.
So what’s the point? How much fun can it be as fan of Kilmarnock or Dunfirmline to know that you have less chance of winning your league than the Baltimore Orioles have of winning the AL East? The talent disparity between Celtic, Rangers and the rest of the league is enormous. Gigantic. Unfathomable. The SPL could very well be the most lop-sided league in any professional sport, anywhere in the world.
Of course, this news isn’t hot-off-the-press. The idea has been floated before of the SPL merging with the English Football Association (FA), (whose Premier League is regarded as the best soccer league around) – to which the Scots have reacted as if Edward Longshanks had just declared Prima Nocte and sent his most virile lords on a weekend hunting trip to Glasgow. The Scots’ reaction is admirable from a nationalistic point of view, but totally asinine from a sporting perspective. Scotland is a tiny country with a very limited talent pool to draw from. As beautiful and storied as Scotland is, and as friendly and entertaining as its people are, international footballers aren’t clamoring for a chance to play in Scotland. Meanwhile, the FA has five divisions, which means plenty of opportunities for Scotland’s other 10 clubs to compete on a level playing field with similarly talented clubs, while Celtic and Rangers take up roost in the Premier League.
Of course, there’s no guarantee that Celtic and Rangers would be Premier League mainstays. From time to time they field great clubs, but getting fat on inferior competition may have inflated their own sense of self-worth and caused the soccer world to overestimate their talent level. I don’t know for sure – but why not allow them to prove their worth in a “real” league with “real” competition, while allowing the other SPL clubs a chance to post a winning record and perhaps even win a division title every once in a while?
Since the demise of hair metal in the early 90’s, Kip Winger has on a couple of occasions made it known that his band, the eponymously named “Winger” (which wasn’t the band’s original name – that would be “Sahara”, and it would’ve been awesome if they toured with Asia — or better yet, if they’d toured with a hypothetical supergroup featuring Malcolm Young, Rikki Rockett, Mark Slaughter and Alex Van Halen called “Gobi”), was far more than just your average hair metal band, and was simply “lumped in” with the hair metal scene simply because they were popular at the same time as the eight million other hair metal acts plying their trade back then. To bolster his case, Kip maintains — and rightly so — that Winger’s musicianship was such that it transcended most other hair metal acts (except for Bullet Boys – psyche!). He’s even gone so far as to refer to his band as “the hair metal version of Dream Theater”.
I don’t know if I’d go that far, but Winger no doubt had/has (I say “has” because they’re still rokkin’, playas!) a talented lineup. Reb Beach and Rod Morgentstern are first-class musicians, and Kip’s no slouch on bass. But when one of your most memorable tunes is an innuendo-free, jail-bait celebratin’ anthem called “Seventeen”, I really must take issue with the notion that Winger’s “hair metaledness” was simply a case of bad timing.
“Seventeen”! “Seven friggin’ teen!!” C’mon, Kip – after “Cherry Pie”, “Slide it in” and “Tease Me, Please Me”, that’s about as hair metal as it gets! I mean, it’s not like you guys were out there singing about the afterlife, or dragon slayers, or alien invasions, or time-traveling Gjorks from the planet Kazar. Look, it’s real simple: if there was any question Winger was a “prog metal act with a terrible sense of timing”, then “Seventeen” provided the answer. Only AC/DC could come up with a song less inconspicuous. In fact, after reviewing Winger’s song catalog, I was shocked not to find a cover of “Sink the Pink” or “Squealer”.
And speaking of Winger’s catalog, here are some other song titles that don’t exactly have a prog metal feel to them:
- “Headed for a Heartbreak”
- “Poison Angel”
- “Can’t Get Enuff”
- “Loosen Up”
- “Easy Come Easy Go”
- “Little Dirty Blonde”
- “You are the Saint, I am the Sinner”
- “Junkyard Dog (Tears on Stone)” — Huh?
Most of these songs are from Winger’s first two albums, which would’ve seemed like a good time to put down those prog metal roots – that is, if you were a prog metal band and not a hair metal band, which Winger certainly was.
IOH: -0.004. I’m down with Winger, but I’m not down with Kip claiming they were unsuspecting victims of hair metal’s onslaught of awesomeness, only to record a bunch of songs that sounded suspiciously hair metal.
Here’s a reminder of what a prog metal song sounds like, complete with lyrics that are a bit deeper than a tale of Kip’s dalliance with a high school junior named Suzie at Taste of Arvada in 1988.
I read two papers every day – the Chicago Sun-Times and the London Daily Telegraph. By “read”, I of course mean “read on my phone” – seriously, who has time to pull an actual newspaper out of its plastic sheath, unless you’re itching for some Sudoku (which of course is also available on one’s phone) or the nostalgic innocence of reading Dick Tracy with the smell of newsprint in your nose?
I read the Telegraph because I like to get a global perspective on things. I’m sure I could get a similar perspective by simply sticking with the Sun-Times, but by the time I make my way through the “Crime” section, I’m exhausted. The Telegraph is useful because not only do you get breaking news on the international cricket scene and the machinations of Parliament, you also get a heavy dose of coverage on the Euro crisis. This is helpful in case you forgot your morning tradition of banging your head into your bedroom wall sixty-seven times, or if your spouse is refusing to honor your request to smack you in the ass with a cactus because it “builds character”.
The Euro crisis is an insult to common sense, and it’s been this way for months. One day Europe’s headed to Hades in a hand basket. The next day, hope is on the horizon and the continent is suddenly re-galvanized. Up and down the yo-yo goes. I don’t know how a reporter can cover this ridiculousness and not go completely insane. Every animal-related cliché is in play here: the dog chasing his tail, the hamster on the wheel, the donkey trying to lick its own ass, the monkey trying to knock himself off of a branch by smelling his own – ah, never mind.
One morning I read that such-and-such body has approved a three-trillion bailout. Twenty-four hours later, Greece is back on the brink of default because the amount isn’t great enough, and oh by the way, the Germans hate the French. This is pure, unadulterated insanity. It’s self-serving, politico-elitist poppycock that only parasitic politicians could think possesses some shred of dignity and logic, while their constituents suffer on a daily basis. Until the ruling class suffers along with the average person — and until “let’s throw more money at the problem” is flushed down the Crapper of Bad Solutions once and for all — it’s difficult to believe that any politician or banker has a sincere interest in bringing an end to the madness.
Earlier I used the phrase “hope is on the horizon” – unfortunately, when hope is the S.S. IMF carrying a boat-load of money, you’d better grab that rosary again. It’s a sad day when our “leaders” believe that throwing money at a problem like this will actually work. These politicians are so greedy and so enamored with money, and all of the financial spin and mathematical tinkering and economic minutia that exists to inflate its worldly value, that they’re blinded to the sociological/anthropologic aspect of the crisis, and the idea that a workable, long-lasting solution can only come once the problem is attacked from this point-of-view. To think that a country like Greece is suddenly going to “wise up” and start acting the same way the Germans do simply because their coffers are a quarter full again is laughable. Same goes for Italy, Portugal, Spain and Hungary.
I always thought Europeans were more grounded than Americans, and less materialistic/money-driven — but day after day I’m proven wrong. I will temper this statement by saying that the American financial district surely has a hand in “sorting all of this out”, which is the last thing the Europeans should want at this point.
These are dark times – hopefully they preface some reawakening in common sense, values and decency, but for now it sucks to watch.
Looking to the sky for help –