Thursday, November 22, 2007

the world is full of crashing bores.

(Joshua Masayoshi Huff)

Well, Sir Patrick Burgwinkle beat me to writing about the game.

Congrats, England! You failed to qualify for Euro 2008! (All the highlights/lowlights here)

Neither bsto nor myself were cheering for them to pull of a draw with Croatia today. England just did not deserve it. It's funny hearing the commentators talk about how England really were the better team when they went down 2-0 (they were not) and how they just make excuse after excuse. One pundit later said "we're going to take a break, and I'm going to throw myself off of a bridge".

The thing is qualification won't ever mean that much to the US...and not because nobody cares about soccer (even though hardly anyone does)...but because we will always qualify for the World Cup. CONCACAF is so lousy that, from here on out, the US just has nothing to worry about.

And this goes for bigger things, too. America is such a huge country that no national team is really all that supported. Nobody really cares if Team USA wins the FIBA World Championship or comes in 4th. Nobody really cares that our baseball team won the Baseball World Cup last week. Why? Because this country is so segmented, and we are comfortable with our international standing--so domestic sports take on a much bigger role. We know we have the best sporting leagues (outside of soccer), so we don't even concern ourselves with national sports pride.

Yes, it's unfortunate, but it's the truth. America is a massive, massive country--and it's also very segmented. I, too, would like to have a country that's maniacally fanatic about our soccer team, but it's just never going to happen--we Americans don't do anything fanatically other than eat and go to war.

Yes, it's sad that Europe 2008 will be missing one of it's great powers--but the Netherlands weren't at the 2002 World Cup, either. It just happens that one great team has to be left out.

It should be a good wake-up call. Becks can still play--it's funny how the British want to forget that. He would be starting at most British clubs today.


I was making a list of European teams that I'd rather watch instead of England. Here they are:

Spain (such an amazing midfield)

Then, probably, England. Portugal are too dull and I've never been a fan of Italy.

And, I mean, really? Steve Maclaren? Why? The England job is exactly like the Notre Dame job, I suppose--it's so storied that every coach wants a crack at it...unfortunately, it has really lost a lot of luster as of late.

I'm telling you, Jose Mourinho will take the job, although Steve Bruce's appointment at Wigan being put on hold is also curious--has the FA lined up Steve Bruce taking the England job? Scolari? Martin O'Neill? Sir Alex Ferguson? The Guardian has the betting odds on the next boss!

One thing is clear: Arsene Wenger is not taking it. I couldn't be more thrilled about that.

A very well-written piece by the Guardian, though--England just isn't that good.

And what's to blame for the loss? American football!

One last thing: Gareth Barry instead of Owen Hargreaves? What in the hell, Steve? Hargreaves might be the best player on the squad (him and Gerrard are neck and neck, but Gerrard hasn't been playing that well for Her Majesty as of late), and you don't include him? You deserve to be shown the door for that.


Enough soccer.

The Dalai Lama is thinking about picking his own successor.

Obviously, he doesn't want China to interfere (they imprisoned the last Tibetan-chosen Panchen Lama...), but how can he pick his reincarnate? Theoretically, you have to be dead before you can be reincarnated (I'm not just trying to be a smug student about this--I'm absolutely serious).

There is usually a 1-2 year search for the new Dalai Lama after the death of the old Dalai Lama. I just don't understand how this would work logistically. He cannot pick the reincarnation of his spirit if his spirit is still within him.

I'm sure bsto will chime in--he's a huge Dalai Lama fan.

Hawaii High School basketball is finally turning the way of high school basketball everywhere else--recruiting out of district.

The debate is over a female player who lives on the Big Island. Punahou, one of the state's most storied and revered private schools (of which Michelle Wie is an alum), wants to give her a scholarship to play ball. Dennis Agena pushed her towards Punahou. Agena is somewhat of a basketball guru in Hawaii--he has ball-handling clinics year-round that turn out the state's best well as some of it's more non-descript players. I attended the clinic for 10 did Derrick Low, a pre-season All-American at Washington State University. My all-time basketball highlight? Low went up to try and swat my layup, and I finger-rolled it over him. Swish.

This kid might be an NBA prospect, and I scored on him--when he was ACTUALLY trying. You think I'm not gonna tell my kids that story?

Anyway, I digress. Welcome to the 21st Century, Hawaii Basketball. This has been happening for years. If the girl wants to leave the boringness that is the Big Island for a better education, she should go. Punahou and Iolani offer lots of kids these sorts of chances, and if education is important and Punahou says they'll foot the bill, consider it. Of course, it would be hard to leave one's friends behind, but it is what it is.

Personall, I could never have attended Punahou or Iolani--it just felt wrong to me. And, in the case of this young woman, if you stand out, you stand out. If this girl is as special as she's made out to be, the colleges will find her.


Great article on Pete Carroll at ESPN. I'm still a bit upset that this USC team can theoretically play for the Rose Bowl with two losses, while Hawaii may go undefeated and be forced to stay home.

It doesn't mean that I don't like Pete, though. He's really a well-spoken, charismatic man...and I don't think anyone at 'SC is going to feel slighted if he leaves for the NFL. You can tell he wants the best for the school, and as a result, we all want what he wants.


Today's videos...The Chemical Brothers' "Star Guitar"

The video is really neat...I couldn't find a great quality one, but Michel Gondry (one of the greatest music video directors ever) did a really great job. The scenery passes to the beat of the song--and the scenery is just absolutely gorgeous.

According to Wikipedia, "The video is based on DV footage Gondry shot while on vacation in France; the train ride was shot ten different times during the day to get different light gradients"

Here's a video of the making of the "Star Guitar" vid:

The song is really amazing too. I used to hate this band with a passion--but bsto's constant playing of them made them grow on me (I still think they have a terrible name). It doesn't hurt that My Bloody Valentine's "Loveless" is one of their favorite albums, either.

And, for good measure, here's My Bloody Valentine's "Only Shallow"

Such a woozy, off-balanced and moving song.

Jay-Z "Blue Magic"

This isn't the strongest song on the album by a long shot, but it was referenced by one of my professors in class today. The discussion was on the poor state of the dollar and the pegging of the Chinese yuan...and the professor said "CNBC said a rapper was flashing Euro's in his video...I don't know who it was, though". I just laughed and said "it's probably Jay-Z" and he said "Yes! That's him!" So, there's the video. Jay-Z knows his money--I mean, he is a business, man.

Lastly, a fan made video for Radiohead's "Bodysnatchers"

bodysnatchers from sanddunesandsea on Vimeo

Such a creepy, creepy video. Hopefully Radiohead buy out whoever made this and use this as the official video--it's just that good.

Well, I'm off to the Bay for a few days. Enjoy the holiday, everyone--and don't spend too much on Friday.