Thursday, June 29, 2006

Step back

Senator Bayh Votes In Favor of Flag Burning Amendment

This is yesterday's news, but I think it should be noted that Indiana Senator Evan Bayh joined a predominantly Republican contingent in favor of amending the Constitution to protect the flag. He is the only 2008 Democratic Presidential hopeful to vote for the flag burning amendment.

This is a simply wedge issue that the Republicans will use in the election year. In fact, they already have.

Quotes like this are ridiculous: "Countless men and women have died defending that flag," said Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., closing two days of debate. "It is but a small humble act for us to defend it."

No, they didn't die to protect a piece of cloth. The flag means nothing if we lose the freedoms that the flag symbolizes.

Thank God, people like Senator Inouye (who lost an arm fighting in World War 2) get it. He said, "Our country's unique because our dissidents have a voice. While I take offense at disrespect to the flag, I nonetheless believe it is my continued duty as a veteran, as an American citizen, and as a United States senator to defend the constitutional right of protesters to use the flag in nonviolent speech." It's no surprise the Medal of Honor recipient had the courage to stand up to this amendment as well.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

My friend was probably right

The year was 1999, Britney Spears was on my television in a schoolgirl outfit. I am not sure she was aware what she was doing then, but Nabokov would have been proud. A friend of mine predicted she would pose in Playboy in ten years.

Seven years later it has come to this: Pregnant Spears poses nude for magazine

No, it's not Playboy, but he still has time.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Apocalypse Soon

Update: A poster who lists his occupation as "messiah" has left a comment. I just thought that may be of interest.

A friend of mine sent me this article about how wackos from Christianity, Judaism and Islam are trying to hasten the endtimes. The article lists how these groups are using technology and even animal husbandry to achieve this goal.

In the US we have christian fundamentalists who believe it is the end times, but in Iran they are waiting for the Mahdi to come. The President of Iran spent millions while he was the mayor of Tehran on beautifying the city for the Islamic messiah's return.

Jewish groups are hoping to rebuild the temple because they are still waiting on their messiah. The catch is the site where they hope to build this temple is now occupied by one of Islam's holiest shrines.

There is also a farmer in Mississippi who is trying to breed a flawless red heifer so some prophecy in the Book of Numbers will be fulfilled so the Jewish messiah will come.

The Christian's position is summed nicely here : "Jews return to Israel after 2,000 years, the Holy Temple is rebuilt, billions of people perish during seven years of natural disasters and plagues, the antichrist arises and rules the world, the battle of Armageddon erupts in the vicinity of Israel, Jesus returns to defeat Satan's armies and preside over Judgment Day."

So the Christians need the Jews to do their part and they are trying to help them cause enough to trouble to start the Revelation games, but to complicate things you have people like former Colorado football coach Bill McCartney who has started "The Road to Jerusalem" group as a mission to save the Jews by converting him. McCartney says, the Jews who do not convert "are toast".

Anyway, it's an interesting article. You have Christians using Jews to achieve their end goal, but they want to convert them along the way. The Shiite Muslims are waiting for their messiah, but no one seems interesting in proselytizing to them. It may be my limited perspective, but it seems the monotheistic religions have more of an obsession with the endtimes. I don't know of similar movements with more polytheistic religions. Abraham's children have provided enough trouble for us anyway and it doesn't seem like it will end soon. Hopefully, that's all we have to worry about unless some new beast is slouching toward bethlehem.

Friday, June 23, 2006

We're here to stay

(Note: Yes, I still write posts here. In fact, I wrote one today. Check it out. Also, due to the track meet, there was no 11 am airraid today. On the other hand, please enjoy another good post by guest blogger Jim. -- Torporindy)

So my last guest post was a bit gloomy. This time, I’m here to ask you to always look on the bright side of life.

At 12:00 p.m. on Thursday, two questions were being asked by Americans who watched the U.S. National Soccer team get booted from the World Cup after losing to Ghana 2-1:

From people who follow soccer only during the World Cup: With a country as rich and powerful as the United States, how could we lose to Ghana? In other words, why do we suck at soccer?

From people who are out-of-their-mind soccer fanaticos like me: Is this the end of soccer in this country?

As for the first question: read USA Today’s Soccer Sweep blog posting on the subject, which you may access here. The piece is by Beau Dure, who has been following the sport for a long time and has a lot of valid things to say.

As for the second question – Well, Beau touches on that too, but I’d like to expand on that and emphasize the one huge positive from this World Cup. As Beau notes, soccer in this country will be fine. And I’m here to say why that is:

There is finally a growing group of fans of the sport in this country (hell, even in this state)—passionate, knowledgeable fans. More fans than I can ever remember. And I’m not just talking about the “oh, I’ll pay attention only once every four years when the World Cup rolls around” crowd. They’re the exception to the norm in my experience. No, I’m talking about people who can name all 23 members on the U.S. team and the professional clubs where those players play when they’re not with the U.S. team. I’m talking about people who know that the Chicago Fire isn’t just a sad event in the city’s history. I’m talking about people who know that England’s best player isn’t David Beckham (it’s Steven Gerrard). I’m talking about people who know the lyrics to Clint Dempsey’s hip-hop opus, “Don’t Tread” (okay, I’m kidding on that last one).

I went to two venues – Radio Radio and Brugge Brasserie – to take in the U.S. games during this tournament. At both places, I met more soccer fans than ever before. The crowds at Radio Radio, in particular, were sizeable. At Thursday’s match, there had to be at least 100, if not more, watching the game. So even though the team’s performance on the pitch made me depressed, the number of fans out to watch the games—again, fans who are really into the sport—made me smile.

In addition, more Americans attended this World Cup than any other. Thousands of Americans turned out to watch each of the U.S.’s matches, which is a far cry from the 1990 World Cup, when the only Americans in attendance were the families of the players. What’s more, our fans in Germany finally behaved like real, passionate soccer fans. ESPN’s Michael Davies, who is currently blogging from Germany during the Cup, had this astute observation about our fans after the game on Thursday:

This World Cup might represent the end of an era, the Arena era, but it's the beginning in many ways. The World religion has arrived. The Internet has been the perfect vehicle to spread the gospel and feed the faithful. The U.S. fans have behaved just like fans from other countries. They've traveled here in numbers. Chanted the chants. Sung the songs. And got behind their team when they needed them, even in this crappy atmosphere-killing stadium today.

It’s the dawn of a new era in U.S. Soccer. Bruce Arena will likely, and justifiably, be fired, or he’ll resign on his own volition (I think that the latter scenario is more likely). A new coach will come in, one who will hopefully bring more flair to the team. New players will enter the national team pool. Perhaps even the overhyped Freddy Adu will live up to his potential. MLS will continue to grow. More of our players will go overseas to ply their trade. More kids will be used to seeing soccer on television and in person. In short, more Americans will come to appreciate the game on their own terms, which is the way that it should be.

As the old saying goes, change is good. And some big changes are about to happen in U.S. Soccer.


Louisville! We're number 16! er, 26!

Louisville’s feelings are hurt. They are begging for recognition, but the right people are not paying attention. If you have driven south on I-65 into Kentucky recently, you may have been informed that Louisville is the best college sports town in America. It must be true because it is on a billboard. In addition, they are the 16th largest city in America. The 16th largest, wow.

It seems like they are copying Indianapolis’ model as they have annexed the rest of the county. In the late 1960s Indianapolis created unigov by combining the city and county (apart from 3 excluded cities) under the pretext of unifying services, but the real reason was most likely to suppress the black vote. Overnight, we became the nation’s 12th largest city. We then called ourselves “The amateur sports capital of the world”, and hey, why not? Who is going to challenge us over that?

Louisville is now doing the same. They’re working on their image. They’re hoping to build an architecturally ambitious 61 story building downtown. They’re erecting signs to tell us how great they are. There is only one problem. The US census bureau doesn’t agree with their claim. The census bureau still counts them as the 26th largest city in America because they were counting people who lived in incorporated cities in Jefferson County. This article details the problems this will cause them. They are going to be left off of top 25 city lists! Poor, poor Louisville.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Aberdeen City / Ezra Furman and the Harpoons

(Music review by The Kid)

A few weeks ago I bemoaned the lack of national touring acts making their way to Indianapolis. I wrote about that, in part, because of a band that I liked, Aberdeen City had a current tour that skipped Indy. Recently I found myself surprised to see that Aberdeen City now planned on stopping by Indianapolis but even more surprised at the venue: The Ugly Monkey.

Those familiar with the downtown bars surely must know about The Ugly Monkey and its checkered past. It opened a few years back in Union Station right next to the Slippery Noodle. When it first open the city touted The Ugly Monkey as yet another step at getting Union Station financially solvent. Indianapolis Union Station is simply a beautiful building but had fallen on hard times. It opened in the early nineties as a festival market place then closed after Circle Centre Mall opened a few blocks up Meridian. Union Station sat dormant for years with an assortment of ideas floating around to put it to good use, including converting it to a parking garage. The city finally settled on having a wide assortment of tenants including non-profits, a school, businesses and the curiously named bar, the Ugly Monkey.

Things didn't work so well between the bar and the city. In fact the city eventually attempted to terminate it lease when, in its opinion, the bar encouraged some bawdy behavior of its customers. I am not sure what the city thought would happen in a bar named after an unattractive primate but the end result involved the bar moving to a new location. It is now at Illinois and South Street, across from the Greyhound station and next to a leather store and another bar called The Whistle Stop In.

Having stumbled upon the fact that the band would play at the Ugly Monkey through the band’s web site, I went over and checked out The Ugly Monkey’s web address. I was surprised to find that not only did the bar have this band playing Thursday but they had live music five days a week. Now whenever I found myself in the mood for a shot given by a little person then followed up by spin in a barber’s chair, I would head to the Monkey post haste. But live music? I would never claim that I am extremely well versed in the music scene in the city but I have a better than average grasp of the social scene and I hadn’t a clue that the new incarnation of the Ugly Monkey featured live music.

This past Thursday I ventured to the Monkey to see the band. Torpor’s Angola, Indiana correspondent, Sly Riptide (yes, there is a story behind the name), joined me. Also long time Torpor commenter, the Brick, met up with us as well. Torpor himself would join later that evening after completing other commitments.
Sly Riptide and I arrived first and headed right for the Monkey. The Monkey’s web site and the flyers on the front door indicated that the doors opened at 7 PM with the band taking the stage at 8 PM. A total of four bands, including Aberdeen City, would play for a great price: five bucks. Before I came I looked on Aberdeen’s web site and that price was by far the cheapest on its tour. Even the unfortunate souls who find themselves living in Dayton, Ohio would have to slap down six dollars to see the band. Sly Riptide and I arrived at the bar at 7:20 PM.

The new Monkey consists of essentially two rooms. The front part is the bar while the back part appears to be where they would have a DJ or for tonight’s purposes, its live music. In the front part of the bar sat one customer, his head on the bar and a Corona in his hands. We headed right for the back and were greeted by the bouncer. After looking over Sly and myself the first words out of his mouth were “You guys playing tonight.” We politely told him no and that we were there to see the bands. They were still trying to get the equipment situated and told us to come back at 8 PM for the show.

After meeting up with Brick and dealing with a series of misadventures at the bar next door, we decided to get some food. Still on a strict schedule we thought we had little choice but to hit one of the fast food restaurants on South Street. White Castle hit the spot although I had never been to that restaurant in that part of the city so early.

We returned to the Monkey at 8:15PM and found that the equipment was still being put up. We ventured down to another bar got a drink and then returned. The music finally began at 9:15 PM.

The first band that night was Ezra Furman and the Harpoons. They consisted of four members, including the lead singer Ezra himself. During the set, the lead singer wore cheap black sunglasses the whole time that would have fit well in a John Hughes film from the eighties. A couple of songs into their set the lead singer mentioned that they were from out of town and that they were looking for a place to stay. I thought this was a running gag of the show but at the end of the band’s set when he made it very clear that they didn’t have a place to stay and they really needed one I figured that these guys weren’t kidding. With only six people in attendance during their set, the law of averages probably played against them. I don’t know where those poor fools from Chicago stayed that night.

The lead singer has a very distinctive voice that took some getting used to. His voice sounded on par with the lead singer of the Violent Femmes and Clap Your Hands and Say Yeah. Notwithstanding the initial acclimation to the sound, the band sounded great. The lyrics were sharp and very humorous at times. The highlight for me was the last song of the night “Halloween Snow”. The song is about a couple that boards a plane to go to Japan to get married. The couple figures out mid-flight that they are not heading to the right place. In fact they realize that they are really on a plane to Zaire. The lyrics give the perspective of each with the lady wondering if she can love a person so careless while the guy wonders whether or not he could love someone who couldn’t make the best of the situation.

After the band finished its set, the lead singer informed the small crowd that they had CDs available for purchase. When the lead singer was near me I gave him a thumbs up sign and told him I enjoyed his set. He then asked me if I wanted to buy a CD and I told him yes. His response was “really” as if he couldn’t believe it. Not only did I buy the CD but also it hasn’t left my CD player since Thursday. The CD features twelve songs and although the packaging leaves a little to be desired, for eight bucks it was a steal. I certainly hope that these guys find a larger audience because after seeing them on Thursday and listening to their CD for several days now I can’t wait to see them live again.

All four of us ventured outside after Torpor arrived. The third band of the night and the band we came to see, Aberdeen City, began playing at 11 PM.
Aberdeen City is a band out of Boston with four members. They consist of Brad Parker on bass and vocals, Ryan Heller on guitar, Rob McCaffrey on drums, and Chris McLaughlin on guitar. Their sound is along the lines of a harder edge band. They have a couple of songs in rotation on Sirius’ Left of Center and according to Sly, are in heavy rotation on Tri-State University’s college radio station up North.
They opened the show with the opening track on their debut “The Freezing Atlantic”. The song, “Another Seven Years” is one of the highlights of the disk and I was not disappointed with it live. Later, after a couple of songs into their set the lead singer thanked the band Army of Me, also on the bill, for letting them go third instead of fourth on the bill. The signer indicated that they had some technical problems that necessitated them going on earlier than planned. I don’t think I ever figured out what the technical problems was but I would venture it was because one of the guitarist was so damn strung out (as Brick put it he looked like Clay Aiken on acid). That being said, this “technical problem” did not affect the band’s sound one bit. They put on a great show for far too few people.

During the set, about fifteen spectators were present, including two members of Torpor favorite Margot and the Nuclear So and Sos. As a result getting a seat wasn’t an ordeal. About five songs into the set, the drink specials had taken their toll. When I left to use the facilities I had to leave the back part of the bar. Once I made it to the front of the Monkey I noticed the song “Pina Colada” being sung in an off key voice. When I went up to the front of the bar I couldn’t believe that on the same night as the bar featured live music that the biggest pull in the bar was karaoke up front.

The band concluded their set with the last song on the record “Mercy”. Before beginning the song the lead singer mentioned that the song was about Boston. This got a friendly banter from the crowd, as a Yankee fan was clearly present. After a friendly correction by the lead singer that the song was not about the Red Sox but the city of Boston, the band ripped the song with intensity disproportionate to the amount of people who came to see them that night. The song rocked with one of the guitarist taking his guitar up and down a metal pole to aid in the instrument’s distortion and the lead signer getting out some sort of cowbell for additional sound. The band ended their set at about midnight and I was very pleased from a spectator’s standpoint with their performance. The live show matched the quality of their excellent debut CD.

First and foremost, Ugly Monkey deserves a lot of credit for putting on live music. If Thursday night is any indication, this can’t be a big money earner for them. I asked our waitress how many they expect on a busy music night and she told me between thirty to forty attendees. For a five buck cover and a drink special of three dollar you call its, it is a great deal for a person to see live music, especially a band with some, albeit at this point small, national stature such as Aberdeen City. However, the Monkey might want to consider a little more advertising. I am unaware of the Monkey advertising outside its web site or flyers posted at its bar. Our waitress informed us that the bar advertised on some radio station in the city but she couldn’t recall which one and she added whatever one it was, it was a very small station. Getting the word out will aid in getting downtown Indy an additional venue to see live music for some time to come.
Aberdeen City noted that they will return to Indianapolis on August 10th but they didn’t say where they were playing. Their web site is silent as to their August dates. When Torpor catches wind of it, we will give some notice. They are definitely worthy seeing even at Dayton, Ohio prices.

You can access the live music line of the Ugly Monkey at this web address

You can learn more about Ezra Furman and the Harpoons at their site or their myspace page. According to their myspace page, you have to contact them through their myspace page to buy their CD.

You can access Aberdeen City’s web site at Aberdeen City or their myspace page. You can get their CD at Amazon.

--The Kid.

Saturday, June 17, 2006


Updated with hints

Okay, I don't normally do the meme thing, but I have had a busy week and I have ignored my blog so any post will do. I appreciate that Jim filled in as a guest blogger. I am waiting to hear from the kid as well, but he's been busy like me.

Anyway, here is a meme from braingirl. She taggged me and called me "nick", but I'll forgive her since she has nice legs.

Here are the rules:

A. Pick 11 of your favorite movies.
B. Then pick one of your favorite quotes from each movie.
C. Post the quotes on your blog.
D. Have commenters guess what the movie is.
E. Either strike out the quote once it has been correctly identified or place the guesser’s user name directly after the quote.
F. Extra points for knowing the actor or character’s name.

1. Ramon is very persuasive, and he painted a terrible picture of what it would be like for her to live the rest of her life in America, with all of its crime, consumerism, and vulgarity. All those loud, badly dressed, fat people watching their eighty channels of television and visiting shopping malls. The plastic throw-everything-away society with its notorious violence and racism. And finally, the total lack of culture. (Barcelona) J. Rossi

2. In a thousand years, there will be no men and women, just wankers, and that's fine by me. (Trainspotting) -- Diego Rivera

3. Oh, I've been to Prague. Well, I haven't "been to Prague" been to Prague, but I know that thing, that, "Stop shaving your armpits, read the Unbearable Lightness of Being, date a sculptor, now I know how bad American coffee is thing..." (Kicking and Screaming) J. Rossi

4. We train young men to drop fire on people. But their commanders won't allow them to write "fuck" on their airplanes because it's obscene! (No hint here. This one is easy) (Apocalypse Now) uttered by Col. Kurtz Tommyspoon

5. My grammy never gave gifts. She was too busy getting raped by Cossacks (Annie Hall)Diego Rivera

6. Now, she should be good-looking, but we're willing to trade looks for a certain... morally casual attitude. (Animal House) Doug Masson

7. I like to look for things no one else catches. I hate the way drivers never look at the road in old movies. (Amelie) indygirl

8. Thirty-two hundred dollars he gave me. Thirty-two hundred dollars for a lifetime. It wasn't even enough to pay for the coffin. Goodfellas -- Craig

9. Liking both Marvin Gaye and Art Garfunkel is like supporting both the Israelis and the Palestinians. (High Fidelity) Jim

10. You wake up at Seatac, SFO, LAX. You wake up at O'Hare, Dallas-Fort Worth, BWI. Pacific, mountain, central. Lose an hour, gain an hour. This is your life, and it's ending one minute at a time. You wake up at Air Harbor International. If you wake up at a different time, in a different place, could you wake up as a different person? (Fight Club) Steph

11. Faith is a torment. It is like loving someone who is out there in the darkness but never appears, no matter how loudly you call. (Hint -- old film perfect depiction of the loss of religion in post ww2 europe)

Monday, June 12, 2006

The noise that you heard this afternoon was a series of myths being shattered in Gelsenkirchen

(Note: This is a guest blog entry from Jim of the late, great blog 11 am airraid.)

Before the U.S. National Soccer Team took the field today in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, against the Czech Republic in the team’s first match of the 2006 World Cup, something just didn’t quite sit right with me. Maybe I was put off by the continual proclamations by the press that this is the best U.S. team ever fielded for a World Cup. Perhaps it was Nike’s “Don’t Tread On Me” ad campaign, in which the U.S. team has been presented as a swaggering soccer power. Maybe it was the number 5 world ranking assigned to the U.S. by FIFA, the governing body of international soccer. Perhaps it was the 1-0 loss to Morocco in the U.S.’s first warm up match prior to the World Cup. Or maybe it was all of the above.

When the final whistle blew and the U.S. walked off the field after a humiliating 3-0 loss to the Czechs, I wasn’t surprised. I am the quintessential eternal pessimist (or so I’ve been told – I prefer to think of myself as a realist), and I knew that it would be difficult for the U.S. to beat the Czechs. So unlike my fellow fans who gathered with me in the hospitable atmosphere of Brugge Brasserie, I didn’t actually feel that the world was going to end. Rather, I felt as if the nagging myths told about the Yanks had merely been confirmed as myths, not truths.

Myth 1 – We are the fifth best team in the world. Any self-respecting American soccer fan will tell you that our number 5 ranking is a joke because FIFA’s ranking system—which the organization will finally scrap after the World Cup in favor of something different—is itself a joke. And yet the soccer-ignorant American sports media, including the very network that is broadcasting all 64 World Cup games in the wonders of Hi-Def, kept trumpeting the U.S.’s ranking before the World Cup as if that ranking proved something. As the old saying goes, however, the proof is in the pudding. The pudding produced today by our team was more like a cow patty, not the luscious chocolate Jello brand stuff that I remember from my childhood.

Particularly problematic for us is that we don’t face consistently difficult opponents leading up to the World Cup. Rather, our World Cup qualifying region, which goes by the unwieldy moniker “CONCACAF,” is filled with the minnows of the soccer world, like St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Antigua and Barbuda, and that terrifying world power, the Netherlands Antilles. The only consistently difficult opposition that we face is fellow regional power Mexico.

When you don’t play the big guns, you’re not going to have the chops to cut it against the big guns. The U.S. Soccer Federation needs to do more to schedule tougher opposition for the U.S. during World Cup qualifying cycles. In short, more trips to Europe and South America to play games against European and South American powers are in order.

Myth 2 – Our athleticism will prove a bane to our opponents. Athleticism means nothing if it is not joined with skill and vision. In other words, you’re not going to win a soccer game by merely being able to run circles around the other team. You have to possess some skill. You’ve got to have a good first touch on the ball. You must have vision as well—the ability to sense how and where plays are going to develop.

There’s no question that we’re athletic. We’re skilled, too, but not skilled enough to hang with the top echelon teams. We have three players with what I’d consider to be good vision—Claudio Reyna, John O’Brien, and Landon Donovan—but other than those three, the pickings get very slim among the remainder of the squad. That’s because the soccer culture in this country doesn’t value creative, skillful players. It values what I call “worker bee” players. Worker bee players are players that will work their asses off for ninety minutes without much flair, but when the time comes to make that one game-breaking pass or deadly finish in front of the goal, no one steps up because no one is skilled enough to step up.

There are a number of theories on why our country doesn’t produce skillful players. Some say that player development is retarded by our youth and college systems, which tend to bring mostly white, suburban players into a very structured, rigid environment, rather than bringing in inner city and Latino kids who play a lot of unstructured “street” soccer. Others say that it’s merely a matter of the best athletes not gravitating toward soccer because of the competition from the traditional American sports, such as football and basketball.

I feel that the problem is primarily cultural. In other countries, every kid who picks up a soccer ball lives and breathes the game, not only as a participant but as a fan as well. Here, soccer for kids is merely a recreational pastime. It’s not “in the blood,” so to speak. Thanks to Major League Soccer, which is working to form developmental systems for young players, this cultural aspect of the game is beginning to change, but at a glacial pace. Until the change is complete, we aren’t going to consistently produce skillful players with vision.

Myth 3 – Landon Donovan will lead us to the Promised Land. In the last few weeks, midfielder Landon Donovan’s face has been everywhere that U.S. Soccer is being plugged. Donovan is touted as the clear leader of this team. If that in fact is true, then what happened against the Czech Republic will be replicated in our next game against Italy and in our final group game against Ghana. That’s because Donovan’s leadership was nowhere to be found on the pitch today in Gelsenkirchen.

Donovan has the potential to be a great player. Every American soccer fan realizes this. But sadly, Donovan has not displayed the fire in the belly necessary to be a great player. Too often, he doesn’t stamp himself on the game in big games. Too often, he talks a lot of smack but doesn’t back it up on the field. His decision a few years ago to leave German club Bayer Leverkusen for Major League Soccer after a brief unsuccessful stint at Leverkusen made many American soccer fans wonder whether Donovan had enough guts to test his mettle in a high-pressure soccer environment. His lackluster performance today only causes that wondering to continue.

Myth 4 – We’re greater than the sum of our parts. The word “synergy” is often used to describe our team. In other words, many say that while the U.S. team may not have any international superstars, they work well together as one cohesive unit. And often, they really do. How else to explain some of the better performances out of the team in the past several years (see, e.g., the final qualifying match against Mexico, which the U.S. won convincingly 2-0)?

Perhaps our synergy isn’t really a myth. But it was today. I can’t think of a time when I’ve seen the team so disjointed and so lacking in passion or pride. They were what most English soccer announcers would call “uninspired.” To have synergy, the Yanks need to play with everything that they have. But they didn’t against the Czechs, and this is what disappointed me the most today. Losing is fine, but not when the loss is caused by a lack of passion.

So the U.S. sits with two games left in the group. The team must win both matches if it hopes to advance. To do that, it must make the myths into a reality. That indeed will be a terribly difficult task, but not one that is impossible. Even this eternal pessimist—make that an eternal realist—harbors some hope.


I don't like Mondays

It's Monday and I am leaving to watch the US play the Czech Republic, so I have nothing other than links.

This site ranks the states in tooth retention. Indiana is the 11th worst state in percentage of adults who have lost their teeth. It's not surprising that West Virginia and Kentucky lead the list.

Congressman Hostettler has managed to offend the nation of Canada. Read the article on Lawgeekgurl's site.

An interesting timeline of 163 US military interventions since 1801

Check out this post on Blog snobbery

Thursday, June 8, 2006

England's Dreaming

The World Cup starts tomorrow and I cannot wait. England can breathe a sigh of relief that their young star Wayne Rooney has been cleared to play at some point in the Cup.

The United States team has the only team bus without a flag on its side. The security for the US team is so tight that the German police are rerouting traffic and closing streets when they travel.

The US plays the Czech Republic Monday at Noon. I'll probably be at Radio, Radio (I'll catch you next time, Jim) to watch the match since it is closest to work.

Mike pointed out that Michael Davies will be covering the Cup again for I enjoyed reading his columns from the last Cup.

Wednesday, June 7, 2006

Fundraiser for Barry Welsh

David Honig of the The Daily Pulse asked me to post this.

Fundraiser hosted by David and Robyn Honig
Start: 06/24/2006 - 4:00pm
End: 06/24/2006 - 8:00pm
Timezone: Etc/GMT-5
Event Details:

David & Robyn Honig are holding a fundraiser on June 24 from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. David and Robyn live in Carmel, and David has been an active supporter of Barry's campaign and contributor to the website for quite a while now.

The location of the event is 2811 Maralice Drive in Carmel, Indiana. For more information please go here.


I have nothing for you except this:

46 plead guilty, get fined for attending a cockfight

Knox -- A judge has accepted guilty pleas from 46 people arrested for attending a cockfight at a farm last month.

City Court Judge Charles F. Hasnerl on Monday sentenced each of the 45 men and one woman to six months in jail, all suspended, and ordered each to pay $506 total for court fees, fines and restitution to the Starke County Humane Society, which put the cockfight roosters to sleep.


Monday, June 5, 2006

06-06-06 The Countdown to Armageddon

Tomorrow is 6/6/6, which will be a significant day for numerologists and Christian fundamentalists. It is the only day of the century where the date will read “666”, which is the mark of the beast in the apocalyptic New Testament book Revelations. An online search reveals that some people take this date very seriously. There are a few who believe the antichrist will be born tomorrow, others are going to call in sick to work, and some bookmakers have given the world 100,000-1 odds of surviving tomorrow. As always, the odds are in favor of the house, how would one collect his bet if the world did end?

It is no surprise that tomorrow is The National Day of Slayer, but did you know it is also the National Hunger Awareness Day as well? So maybe you can help fight off satan, the antichrist and the bogeyman by donating some food, money or time at a local food bank or relief operation.

Friday, June 2, 2006

Pro-Life License Plates

BMV approves 'Choose Life' plates

The anti-abortion debate is coming to Indiana's cars, as Bureau of Motor Vehicles Commissioner Joel Silverman has approved a "Choose Life" license plate.

The plate, which will be available beginning in January 2007, was among 10 specialty plates Silverman approved and was sought by the Indiana Association of Pregnancy Centers.

Greg Cook, spokesman for the BMV, said this afternoon Silverman's decision was not a philosophical or political one.

"No," he said. "This organization demonstrated significant support and certainly met the minimum requirements."

To win approval of a specialty license plate, a group can seek passage of a bill through the Indiana General Assembly or can gather petitions to seek approval directly from the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. Cook said a group must show it can sell 2,000 of the license plates over four years.

Money from the sale of the plates will benefit the group's "pro-life pregnancy resource centers," according to a statement by Indiana Right to Life.

Seriously, we're not all a bunch of hicks here even though one of the first things you see when you leave the Indianapolis International Airport is a sign which reads "Indiana is a pro life" state.

It's hogwash for the BMV to claim this decision was not a philosophical or a political one. As if any group that could prove it could sell 2,000 license plates over four years could receive their own plate. I've been on the internet for over a decade and I can tell you that in a population of 6 million people, you can almost find 2,000 enthusiasts for almost any interest. How about those who support universal healthcare? Why don't the swingers get their own license plates? Quilters? S and M fans? Trekkies? Those who engage in auto-erotic asphyxiation? I am open for your suggestions for new submissions.

Update: The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette has a good article on the new plate issue.
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