Saturday, June 24, 2006

Maxi Being Maxi

Mas Copa Del Mundo

Full disclosure: this post is going to be entirely about the World Cup. Sorry, but I'm obsessed right now. I will be publishing posts on some recent Supreme Court cases, my housesitting experiences with my dogg Sophie (who is a cat), and a crackpot theoretical discussion on evolution and my broken finger. But for now, it's Cup.

First things first: I would be remiss if I didn't give big ups to The Man, Ronaldo, for getting his 2 goals to tie the all-time World Cup goal scoring record of Der Bomber, Gerd Muller, at 14. Klose (9) may eventually pass him but until then congrats to the big man. I've been joking around, calling him Fatty, and a little more seriously suggesting that Robinho should be in there instead of him, but I have been a Ronaldo fan for several years so I'm glad he got his 2. And I'm glad he got them in the first round, so they can have a clear conscience when they start Robinho against France or Spain in the Quarterfinals.

I'm writing this update as I watch Germany dominate Sweden in the first match of the elimination rounds. Things just aren't going Sweden's way today (2 unwarranted yellows equaling an unwarranted red to Lucic; Larrson shanks a PK), but it's not all bad luck. Germany look very good. They've officially moved into a tie with Spain for #3 in my power rankings. If Argentina beat Mexico this afternoon, the quarterfinal match between them should be the match of the Cup so far. Hopefully it will end better for los Gauchos than the 1990 Final did.

Since my last update, there have been quite a few games but they were either match # 2 of *yawn* Group G and *yawn* Group H, or they were the third matches, which often suck because teams are either eliminated already or have advanced already and are trying to rest or protect players. So, I won't recap them all but a few are worthy of mention:

Germany vs Ecuador
- how much do stamps cost in Ecuador? It can't be that much because Ecuador had no problem mailing this one in. We'll see how good they are against a tough English squad tomorrow (Owen's injury is the best thing that ever happened to England). Have we seen the last of the wrestling mask? That would be the most disappointing early death of a funny sports thing, since the "Who's Your Daddy" chant from Yankees fans to Pedro didn't make it beyond 2 months.
Portugal vs Mexico - a lovely tribute to Greg Louganis.
Argentina vs Netherlands - you know you're watching too much World Cup when every analyst agrees that a game is boring and disappointed, and you're absolutely riveted by the 90 minutes of midfield passing. I'm losing it.
USA vs Ghana - First of all, I told you so, John L. 2nd of all, that penalty kick was total bullshit. 3rd of all, it doesn't matter because the US wouldn't have advanced anyways and honestly they didn't deserve to advance. They just didn't play well in their 3 matches. There was some scrappy play against Italy and a gorgeous goal by Dempsey in this match, but the rest of their effort was crap. 4 shots on goal in 3 matches is pathetic.
Switzerland vs S. Korea - Switzerland hasn't conceded a goal yet. They should be able to beat Ukraine and they definitely have a shot at beating Italy and making it to the Semifinals. No way they beat Germany or Argentina, though.

VTK Current Power Rankings:
1. Argentina
2. Brazil
3. Spain (tie)
3. Germany (tie)
5. Holland
6. England (tie)
6. Portugal (tie)
8. Italy
9. Ecuador
10. Ivory Coast
11. France
12. Switzerland
13. Mexico (tie)
13. Ghana (tie)
15. Sweden
16. Czech Republic
17. South Korea
18. Australia
19. Ukraine
20. Angola
21. Croatia
22. USA
23. Paraguay
24. Trinidad & Tobago
25. Tunisia (tie)
25. Serbia/Montenegro (tie)
25. Poland (tie)
28. Japan
29. Iran
30. Costa Rica
31. Togo
32. Saudi Arabia

Si se puede, Gauchos!!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Chess King Torso

Who can explain the artist's method? I can't. I've been shamefully slacking on Business Casual Stag Devil Death Boy as of late, so I've been trying to do some drawing to gear back up and then spend some time on it over the next couple weeks while housesitting for friends. Since my primary responsibility seems to be to take care of the cat, I didn't think it would be a good idea to bring over my messy, toxic paints. Anyways, I sat down tonight with the intention of working on my cartooning of Carl Caperton but an AMC double header of Jurassic Park and Lake Placid later, I found myself with this picture of a dissatisfied looking character's torso in a Chess King sweater type thing (not a poncho) on a stool. It's like a mock-up of something that might come out of a John Hughes / John Waters brainstorming session. I don't know. Can't explain it. But it cracked me up so I thought I'd pass it on.

(WARNING - LAKE PLACID SPOILER - I thought Lake Placid was going to be your standard, run-of-the-mill there's-a-30-foot-alligator-in-our-peaceful-new-england-town's-lake movie, but I was pleasantly surprised to find a plot twist that included Betty White secretly feeding cows (and her husband) to the giant gator. Now that is cinema.)

Monday, June 19, 2006

National Carpet Is A Band

Local VTK reader/rockstar done good! Come on down to the Abbey Lounge on Tuesday night, June 20th, to see long time reader and commenter "Trivmaster" make that guitar gently weep as his band National Carpet makes its Cambridge debut in opening up for Silver Lining. Check them out at and then check them out over a $2 beer or 4. Show starts at 9 PM. I will be passing out free Ecuadorian wrestling masks to the first 300 attendees.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Rods and Cones Craziness

There are some seriously fluorescent uniforms in this year’s World Cup. My eyes are going crazy in here. On another superficial analysis tip (and that’s really unavoidable when you watch 25 soccer matches and hours of analysis between games in a 10 day span), here’s an interesting link for those who have been watching the matches with me and have endured my analysis of the diadora shirt fonts (thanks to Michael Davies’ blog for the tip). Here’s the weekend recap of the actual games:

Argentina vs Serbia & Montenegro
– Holy shit. To put this in perspective, Serb/Mont only let in 1 goal in all of qualifying and only one goal to a talented Holland side. And Argentina absolutely destroyed them. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen such a beatdown in the World Cup. Their substitutes (Tavaz and Messi) were as good as anyone playing in the World Cup. Will their keeper and their outside midfielders’ defense hold up? If they do, Argentina will win its 3rd Cup.
Holland vs Ivory Coast – The Ivory Coast are officially my 3rd favorite team in the Cup, behind Argentina and Ecuador. They have to be the best team to ever be eliminated from the World Cup in two games. I cannot wait for the Argentina Holland match.
Mexico vs Angola – Tremendous effort by Angola, whose 2 best players are inexplicably unemployed. Until this match anyways. The keeper’s earned himself a job for sure. If nothing else, I’ll pay him $10 an hour to do odd jobs around the house. I could use a partner to do my morning high parry exercises.
Portugal vs Iran – I’m still unsure about Portugal. They seem to be the most talented team in this group, but they haven’t made a really definitive statement yet (like England).
Czech vs Ghana – Baffling beatdown by Ghana. I’m very impressed by the African teams in this tournament. They may all get eliminated in the first round but they’ve all played well (actually I don’t know about Tunisia and Togo, but ignorance has never diminished my assuredness before so why start now).
USA vs Italy – Finally, the US arrived in Europe. A scrappy draw. Hopefully they will still have some legs for the match against Ghana (sans Pope and Mastroeni).
Japan vs Croatia – didn’t see it, but am a bit surprised at Croatia not winning.
Brazil vs Australia – Brazil is still not at full form yet, but was good enough to handle the plucky Socceroos. Gotta start Robinho over Ronaldo. Gotta.
France vs Korea – oh, France. Come on now. And does Treguezet really suck so bad that you won’t put him in until injury time of your second match when your major problem is finishing?

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Ecuador - Greatest Team Ever

Are you fucking kidding me with this? You bet your ass I'm rooting for Ecuador. I was rooting for them before on the basis of their being a South American team and on the quality of their tight, talented play. And then this shit. Oh man. This guy just single handedly bitchslapped every wide receiver on the face of the planet with this celebration. Best celebration since the South Koreans mocked Apollo Anton Ono after scoring on the US in 02. Actually, screw that; this was better. Maybe the best ever. Eat your heart out Nacho Libre. I'm going to order a minimum of a crate of these masks. I figure they can stuff alot of these things in a crate so that should be sufficient for now. I'll be selling them to VTK readers at cost, so get your orders in now.

Well, obviously I love me some World Cup. It has been quite a week. I don't even give a crap about the NBA or Stanley Cup Finals (though the Heat's comeback in game 3 and the Oiler's OT shorthanded goal in game 5 were pretty damn sweet). And did Mussina lose today for the Yankees. oh well. Fuge is doing a great job blogging on the WC over at The Double Deuce, so I won't get into detailed breakdowns of each game as you probably don't care, but if you do you can find it there or on ... well, if you care, I'm assuming you know where to get the goods. I will say that I'm still enjoying Michael Davies' blog and I will write a blurb on each match played in the first week:

Germany vs Costa Rica - 3 goals in the first 15 minutes of the World Cup - wow, that ball really is rounder than usual.
Ecuador vs Poland - Ecuador looks pretty good but their celebrations are lacking a certain something ...

England vs Paraguay - Bastard English didn't deserve this win.
Trinidad & Tobago vs Sweden - Who needs goals?
Argentina vs Ivory Coast - I'm an Argentina fan and was glad to see them play well and win, but a part of me was pulling for Ivory Coast since the opposing factions in a civil war in the country called a truce for the duration of the Cup. Question - what if you just kept the truce going anyways? Let's just pretend they're still playing. (then again, I'm totally ignorant about the conflict and don't know the implications of that statement - guess I'll have to read up before tomorrow's match)
Netherlands vs Serbia & Montenegro - drank too much beer, missed it.
Mexico vs Iran - great effort from an Iranian side against a strong Mexican team, which I would have preferred to listen to without the horrendous announcing of Dave O'Brien, who at one point wondered aloud what the Iranian players thought about the Nazi staging platforms 600 feet from the stadium given "their leader's views on the holocaust". Shut the fuck up, jackass. Don't you have a curling match to call?
Portugal vs Angola - Portugal looks good.
Japan vs Australia - drank too much beer, missed it.
USA vs Czech Republic - USA looked like crap; Czech Republic looked like a contender.
Italy vs Ghana - Both teams looked like they could beat the US.
South Korea vs Togo - drank too much beer ...
France vs Switzerland - The Field has good food; Switzerland has handballs.
Brazil vs Croatia - Between his gut and the Croatian uniforms, Ronaldo looked like a fat Italian after supper.
Spain vs Ukraine - 16 to 1 baby, 16 to 1 ...
Tunisia vs Saudi Arabia - This match wasn't getting me out of the house and to the bar.
Germany vs Poland - CABLE!! What a heartbreaking loss for the Poles and their goalkeeper who played a great defensive match, only to give up a goal in injury time to lose 0 - 1. The most humiliating German Polish interaction since the WW2 repartitioning of Poland.

Ecuador vs Costa Rica - Not only does Ecuador have Ivan Kaviedes and his WWF masked marauder type mask, they have players with nicknames such as Ivan "Bam Bam" Hurtado, "Tin" Agustin Delgado, and "Demolition Man" Carlos Tenorio. Is this the coolest team of all time? I think it might be. I like the Ticos, but they got nothing on this merry band of wrestlers. Also, the second goal was positively delicious. One of the best of the Cup so far.
England vs T & T - Despicable English rip a draw from a valiant T & T defense in the 85th minute.
Sweden vs Paraguay - Sweden was 88 minutes into their second match, about to cement their status as the most exciting, non-scoring offense in the history of soccer, when they had to go and blow it by putting a nifty header past a heretofore brilliant Bobadilla in goal. Tragic to see Paraguay bounced out of the Cup because of this game and the England game, but that's what happens when you don't score. Gotta score.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Sons & Daughters – Final Sales Pitch

I’m starting to realize that I was one of roughly 600 people in the world who actually watched and loved Sons and Daughters. As a service to the good people of Von Trapper Keeper Nation, for whose comic taste I have the utmost respect, I’m going to post all of the links to the show here (YouTube kicks ass). Each clip is about 6 to 8 minutes. Let the debate over the Dead music vs the Cheap Trick music begin:

Episode 1.1
Episode 1.2
Episode 1.3
Episode 2.1
Episode 2.2
Episode 2.3
Episode 3.1
Episode 3.2
Episode 3.3
Episode 4.1
Episode 4.2
Episode 4.3
Episode 5.1
Episode 5.2
Episode 5.3
Episode 6.1
Episode 6.2
Episode 6.3
Episode 7.1
Episode 7.2
Episode 7.3
Episode 8.1
Episode 8.2
Episode 8.3
Episode 9.1
Episode 9.2
Episode 9.3
Episode 10.1
Episode 10.2
Episode 10.3

And that’s it. I’m officially done pushing this show on you. [UPDATE: technical difficulties. I'm working off Firefox now instead of Safari and the linking is a bit different. I think these links should work now]

Finally, one administrative note: I apparently forget to mention that dewy24 did split the uprights in one of his kicks. Or possibly two. The oversight was unintentional. I was in the Zone at the time.

Monday, June 12, 2006


Kick - the word of the day. There was, of course, the big field goal Kick. But first there was more kick-ass World Cup. Here is a brief recap of the action:

10:20 - I don't have cable just yet and with the big Kick just hours away, I didn't think I should be in the bar drinking stout at this hour, so I checked in on the Japan - Australia score online over a tasty egg, turkey, and cheese sandwich and some fresh ground/brewed coffee. Japan 1 - 0. Should be a cakewalk from there. Surf time.

11:20 - Australia 3, Japan 1. What the fuck? Apparently the Socceroos scored 3 times in the last 8 minutes. *shaking head*

11:40 - I do some very minor stretching of my legs. Nothing too big. Don't want to pull a hammy pre-Kick.

12:00 - I arrive at the Plough and Stars and, due to my apparent blindness, don't see my friends sitting 3 stools away in a near empty bar until they hear my big mouth and call me over.

12:45 - Despite controlling possession for big stretches of the first half, the US is down 0 - 2 to a very big and very talented Czech Republic side. Not looking good. The sports bookie ticket in my pocket may have reached the end of its long journey from the Imperial Palace in Las Vegas.

1:15 - The 2nd half kicks off and Czech Republic is now playing without their 6 foot 8 inch striker, who left the game in the first half with a pulled hammy. I hope this isn't a portent of things to come. We're now watching the game at the Field. Better luck?

1:45 - No. Czech Republic scores again. The US is screwed. I rip up the sports bookie ticket and throw it to the ground.

2:00 - US loses, I hand the pile of ripped up paper to the Boston Globe reporter and we head off in search of a football, a tee, and a field that has field goal posts.

2:30 - Ball in hand. After a slice of pizza pie, we look for a field. I convince the gang that I should get a practice kick to calibrate myself since I've had 3 pints. They agree on the stipulation that the calibration kick does not count and it's the one after it that is The Kick. Of course. There's only one Kick.

3:00 - No field goal posts to be found. We settle for the center portion of a baseball backstop and walk off 35 yards. Dewy24 and Trivmaster squib a couple kicks as I'm warming up and stretching. They inform me that it's tough.

3:10 - I line up the kick and walk off the 4 steps and the 2 side steps. I take a couple swipes at air. Then I tee up the ball for my calibration kick - laces forward.

3:12 - The calibration kick is wide left, but I got some good foot on it. It felt pretty good. good distance. good height.

3:14 - The Kick:

3:15 - 3:30 - I miss the next nine kicks, but have some pretty good attempts. One actually flies over the backstop, just wide right. That one might have been a 45 yard kick if it was on line in a real field. But it was wide right. Had the power and the height. Just didn't have the accuracy.

the great thing about outrageous guarantees is that no one really expects you to succeed, so when you fail, it's no big deal. But when you come through, when it works out ... now there's some glory, right there. Which is why I will now guarantee that I will hit a 45 yard field goal by the end of the summer. Place your bets.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Regis Philbin The Southern Maine Chicken and Other Weekend Tidbits

Let's move on. Here are the other tidbits from the past week or so:

1. Thanks For Easing Me Into The Waking Life, Old Friend

My alarm clock's snooze is finally broken. The button broke off about 6 or 7 years ago, the face plate fell off a few years ago, but I continued to use it because I've only had two alarm clocks in my life and I was hesitant to replace my little companion. I just put my finger in the hole and press the piece of metal that was supposed to be pushed by the button. But now it's time to say goodbye to Ol' Number Two and buy alarm clock Number Three.

2. Amy Goodman takes Thomas Friedman to Task
The voice of Democracy Now!, Amy Goodman, is the embodiment of hard core journalism. That's why I was excited to hear that she had Thomas Friedman on her program recently (transcript). She didn't go after him to the degree that she did President Bill Clinton in 2000, but he was flustered at the end. which was nice.

3. RIP Billy Preston
Known by many as the fifth Beatle, Billy Preston had an illustrious career, as detailed in this NYTimes obit. RIP BP.

4. Hemisphere Thriving
I stopped by the kids' restaurant, Hemisphere, in Sandwich on my way to and from a wedding in Orleans (congratulations John and Jenni), and while they are getting suhlammmmed, they are doing a fantastic job of keeping things together and running a kick ass restaurant. Keep it up, kids.

5. Ricky Gervais
In case you missed it, there's a new free Ricky Gervais video podcast. check it out on your iTunes Podcast Directory.

6. Enough Fear

Check out the latest project from Jethro and Nick, leaders of creative dissent in America (and my boys!): "The Enough Fear campaign is an international effort to prevent war between the US and Iran. We are collecting photos of Americans and Iranians on this website to demonstrate our solidarity in this cause." This hasn't been publicized too much as of yet because they're trying to get a good representation of Iranian voices (pictures) before it gets flooded with American pictures. But some people have been reticent to participate for fear of being singled out and investigated by the NSA etc. I just assume that they're watching me, so fuck it. Please consider posting a picture now or in the future when the numbers get greater. It might make a difference. These guys do good work (,,, etc).

7. Dirk vs Bird
I'm about to watch game 2 of the NBA Finals. This bit from the last game from analyst Mark Jackson: "the only thing Bird did better than Dirk was passing and making people around him better... He can be better than Bird. He’s a better rebounder." Whoa. That's just a lie. Bird averaged 10.4 rebounds for his career. Dirk averages 8.5. That’s a big difference. This is so stupid that it's hardly worth mentioning. Dirk is a very good player. But he's no Bird. That's just absurd.

8. World Cup

Since the last post, I've watched every World Cup match except this morning's 9 AM Holland vs Serbia & Montenegro match. That would be 7 matches in 48 hours (and the Field has done very well for my presence). I love me some World Cup. The best game I've seen so far would have to be the Trinidad & Tobago shocking 0 - 0 draw against Sweden. Not only were they big underdogs, they played the last 45 minutes a man down. Great defensive display. People who complain that there's not enough scoring in soccer just don't understand. The US kicks off tomorrow against the Czech Republic. I'm going to be watching it with some old friends who will also be witness to my big field goal kick (the other football) after the game. A year or two ago I guaranteed that I could hit a 35 yard field goal - on the first attempt. Because of the stout that will no doubt accompany the game, I'm pushing for one practice kick for calibration. I'm also pushing for 8 to 1 odds. And I'm taking bets.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

World Cup? Bitte Ja.

Stop the revolution of the Earth. It’s World Cup time. Forget the Olympics; the World Cup is by far the biggest sporting event in the World. Right now, I’m listening to the Yankees vs the Red Sox online, watching the first game of the NBA Finals between 2 teams that have never been there before, and writing a blog post about The World Cup. You might say I’m getting my sport on. The World Cup starts in approximately 11 hours. I’ve got money on the US beating the Czech Republic at 2.5 to 1, money on France winning it all at 10 to 1, and money on Spain winning it all at 16 to 1 (Yes I know they choke more than Karl Malone scarfing down a plate of hot wings, but at 16 to 1, they’re worth a shot). I’ve got 10 pubs within a mile that will be showing the games. I’ve got a cable tv housesitting gig for ½ the Cup locked up. I’ve got, well, I guess I’ve got the fever.

Here are some good articles if you’re looking for some reading material:

- I read this blog religiously during the 2002 World Cup, and it looks to be a good one again this year.

Here are some places to watch the games for you Boston volk. Fortunately it doesn’t mention my little haunts where I plan on watching the World Cup matches – The Field and The Druid. Shit. The cat’s out of the bag. Surely all of eastern New England will be headed there now.

This is a guide for American sports fans unfamiliar with international soccer (football) - comparisons of World Cup teams to American sports teams and players from an irish junk ball pitcher.

[that link came from dewy24. if any of you soccer fans out there have good articles, please pass them on and I'll post them.]

Clearly written by an American, but interesting nonetheless, 5 players to watch, 5 teams to watch, 5 storylines to follow can be found here.

And if you'd like to be culturally sensitive and sprechen ze deutsch, here's a handy German to English translation guide of soccer terms.

FIFA World Rankings are currently looking like this. Which brings me to my predictions:

Round 1
Group A: Germany, Costa Rica
Group B: England, Sweden
Group C: Argentina, Ivory Coast (as in March Madness, you gotta pick one well documented dark horse)
Group D: Mexico, Portugal
Group E: USA, Czech Republic
Group F: Brazil, Japan
Group G: France, Switzerland
Group H: Spain, Ukraine

Round 2
Germany beats Sweden
Argentina beats Portugal
USA beats Japan
France beats Ukraine
England beats The Ticos
Mexico beats Ivory Coast
Brazil beats Czech Republic (1 v 2 in FIFA rankings)
Spain beats Switzerland

Argentina beats Germany
France beats USA
Mexico beats England
Brazil beats Spain (losing me money)

Argentina beats France (losing me money)
Brazil beats Mexico

First All South American Final Since 1950
Brazil beats Argentina

And finally, just to get you extra extra psyched up, I went through a handful of youtube clips and selected three beauties for you:

1. Here is a recap of the top 10 goals of the 2002 World Cup.
2. Here is a highlight reel of one of the greatest player's alive, Ronaldinho.
3. And you didn't really think a former keeper like myself would end the official Von Trapper Keeper World Cup Post on anything other than a sick sick sick montage of keeper saves, did you? Enjoy.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Melky Being Melky

It's not time for one of my Y.x.6 status reports yet, but I feel that I have a duty to provide this footage anyways:

"That's why when I hit them, I hit them 500 feet. So I don't have to deal with all that stuff." – Big Papi

And from Lupica: "Listen," Jeter says, "I'm not just saying this to say this. But if you don't win it's a waste. It's not enough to win your division, it's not enough to say you made it to the League Championship Series and you battled. Or that you lost the World Series, but boy, did you battle. That's not why I play. It shouldn't be why anybody plays. Here's the deal: You start working out in November, and you keep working, through spring training and into the season, and the whole time, there's only one goal, and that's to win the World Series. Not win the division. Win the Series. And if that's not the way you look at things, then you shouldn't even be here."

I'm officially into it.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


June 06, 2006. Feel the burn.

And if you're wondering what city googles "666" the most, it's Lima Peru. Maybe that's why it's appearing red on this CNN map. I found this delicious little tidbit by using Google Trends, which I was alerted to by this article from I find this article particularly interesting since this is the Chicago suburb that my parents lived in when I was born and where I spent my first two years. Did they get us out of there because of all the sex going on everywhere? Is this why my otherwise totally incompatible parents had sex a minimum of two times in Elmhurst and once shortly after in Pittsfield? What would have happened if I had stayed in Elmhurst? Would I be producing RevCo tracks with Al Jorgensen right now? Wasn't Big Black (Songs About Fucking) from Chicago? Did they reside in Elmhurst perhaps? I know former hockey great Tony Esposito lived around the corner from us. What does this say about him and the sport of hockey itself? Fascinating development indeed. Or as the city of Elmhurst's economic development website's front page advertises: "IDEAL":

The article also points out that my current home of Cambridge MA is ranked # 1 in "Tom Cruise" google searches (I'm not responsible for more than 1/2 of those). I also did a little research of my own and am proud beyond words to report that Cambridge also leads US cities in "douchebag" searches. Boston is # 7. I love this town.

(I was alerted to this article by the Not Safe For Work, which also had an interesting post on pornographic crocheting. Art these days. Everybody's gotta have a hook.)

Anne Frank - The Lost Pages

I don't really have time for a proper post, so I'll just drop this one in here to tide you over. Warning: this is really outrageous. Absolutely hilarious, but outrageous. One line in particular. And you'll know it when you get to it. This was on a tip from the fountainhead of webgems, Screenhead, and was apparently a failed pilot for Channel 102, this online DIY tv channel type of thing, which has a slightly clearer video version of the clip here.