Thursday, March 31, 2005

There Ain't No 'Ham Like the Birmingham...

To make a soccer-fan want to stay in Alabam!

Yesterday, I made the trip over to Birmingham along with five friends to watch the World Cup Qualifier, US versus Guatemala. What a trip. We left mid-afternoon, arriving in Birmingham just in time to enjoy some delicious slow-cooked chopped pork and ribs at Full-Moon Bar-B-Que (26th Street Location). Fully fat and happy, we then proceeded to Legion Field for some full-on tailgating. Beer was consumed (and a little spilled) as we watched the many Guatemalan fans, some of which were from as far away as DC, parade by and generally make merry. Their spirit was amazing. It was like a family reunion, sporting event, carnivale, and circus all wrapped up together. Many news outlets reported that there were more Chapines than Gringos at the match. And it certainly appeared that way when we first arrived.

Once we got into the stadium though, it seemed that the crowd was more evenly mixed, which is still not the best situation for the US, being the "home" team and all. All the Guatemalan fans around us were very happy, living and cheering with their team kick by kick, foul by foul. I'd watch a match with them again any day.

As for the match, the US lightened the spirits of their fans who were still mourning their defeat in Mexico Sunday afternoon. They took control of the match early on; Eddie Johnson continued to cement his permanent place in the starting 11 by scoring in the 11th minute. The US proceeded to continue to fire at the goal, missing about six more great chances in the first half. I'm looking at you especially Brian Ching.

After a few more chances in the second, including a very close offsides call to nullify a goal, they finally got their insurance goal from Steve Ralston. US 2 - 0 Guatemala, and a clean sheet for Kasey Keller, who was fantastic in goal again. (Ed. Note: Brad who?) My man of the match? Eddie Johnson is the obvious choice, but I'm going with Eddie Lewis (We Are P-N-E!), who was a workhorse and fired pinpoint accurate crosses into the box until relieved late in the second half. Here's the local story from Birmingham.

At the end of game, I got congratulated by some of the Guatemalan fans and we returned to the parking lot for more beer until the crowd thinned a bit. Birmingham actually felt like a soccer town last night, making the large sign, "Legion Field - The Football Capital of the South," feel about right--maybe it should have been futbol though.

The only downer was the torrential rain we had to drive through on the way back to the ATL. Our excellent driver got us all home safely, if late, though. Great work Kris! We really appreciate it.

Also, I see that the Birmingham news now has a soccer blog. Go show it some love.

UPDATE: Mexico only managed a draw at Panama, which means the US only trails El Tri by one point. Way to play Panama!

NP: "Pressed in a Book" - The Shins.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Darts


Bulls
Originally uploaded by trox.
So, I've been playing a lot of Cricket lately as a way to pass the time, and doing pretty well I might add (mostly due to the performance of the partner I've been playing with. Witness.

Admittedly, this was a practice shot between matches, but it's indicative of the quality of dart play The Local has been seeing lately. Well done Katie!

Friday, March 25, 2005

Weather Notes

Finally, I think we can bid the up and down temperatures and wild swings in weather quality goodbye here in Altanta* [ed note: wait 10 minutes]. The temperature is supposed to top 70 today. We've seen 70 before this year, but I don't think we'll have to worry about sinking into the 40s again. Of course, this only means that another trip to Pittsburgh can't be too far in my future.

It's so nice, I was finally persuaded to leave the car parked and walk to work again. Let's see if I can keep that as a resolution for the next couple of months--walk at least three or four days a week. Reasons I was so excited about my new job: a) it's proximity to my home b) it's distance from Alpharetta anc c) various work related things like autonomy, lack of BS, and the ability to regrow a goatee.

np - Lloyd Cole & The Commotions - Are You Ready to be Heartbroken

*Knocking on wood, of course.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

The War on the Environment

Conservatives finally got one of the top items on their wish list. The Senate approved drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve (ANWR). What is especially galling is how they did it. Instead of calling for a vote on just this issue in a bill all its own, Senate Republicans slipped it in as a rider on the overall budget, making it impossible for Democrats to filibuster it. Why did they do it this way? Because they know.

  • They know that the majority of the American public opposes it.
  • They know that it would never win in a straight up or down vote on its own.
  • They know that there is only about a six month to a year supply contained in the reserve.
  • They know that it will be disastrous for the caribou herds in the region.
  • They know that environmental accidents will occur.
  • They know there is really no such thin as clean drilling technology.
  • They know that the positive economic impact for Alaska will be shortlived.
  • They know that any pipeline will spread the impact beyond the small area proposed for drilling.
  • They know that greater fuel efficiency vehicles would have a much greater impact on oil indepedence.

They know the only folks that are really going to benefit from this are the big oil companies. Or, as President Bush likes to call them: his base.

And you know what. We know too. Remind them that we know next time we vote.

And in the meantime, here are some things to do to indicate your displeasure.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Hollywood Liberals* and the Ten Commandments

Living in the south or sort-of south for all of my life, I've becomed accustomed to displays of the Ten Commandments at all sorts of public buildings, usually at courthouses and in schools. I hear about this more in Georgia than I did in Virginia though.

Lately, these have been in the news as someone who has actually read the first amendment to the constitution inevitably decides this violates the establishment clause (read, separation of church and state). I don't have a problem with the Ten Commandments per se (they're a pretty good guide to living a pretty decent life), but I do have a problem with those folks who seem hell bent on retaining them in our public spaces--the beliefs of those residents be damned.

Now, I'm guessing you'll say that there aren't many Buddhists or Muslims in many of these small towns to begin with, so who's going to get offended. Well, last time I counted, there are a lot of different denominations that all claim the ten commandments, not to mention Judaism, and they all could use different translations. So what's the preferred version? The one favored by Southern Baptists? Or by Catholics (OK, I didn't even write that one with a straight face).

The thing is, people like former Judge Roy Moore in Alabama and his organization want to establish their particular brand of fundamentalist, conversative, evangelical religion, even at the expense of some more liberal strains of Christianity such as Presbyterian, Episcopalian, Methodist, and Catholic--again not to mention Judaism.

To a fault, their usual argument (echoed by Justice Scalia no less) is that these commandments are the basis for U.S. law. To that, I say Horsehockey! The basis for U.S. is the consitution. The same constitution that expressly forbids the establishment of a state religion.

So where did these displays come from. I'm sure a lot of them came from well-meaning public servants; others from conservative ideologues; and others from sources less clear.

Now, for my Pual Harvey moment. It seems that many of these were erected along with the marketing push for the Cecil B. DeMille film, The Ten Commandments. And now you know the rest of the story. Stolen shamelessy from Mefi.

*excluding Charlton Heston of course.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Housekeeping

I added a bunch of new links to the Flannel Approved list. From sports to politics to music to life, these are some of my most visited sites. Feel free to surf 'em all.

Also, don't miss the Locals area over there too. It includes friends and current and former co-workers, all of which have good things to say (and I don't mean about me either). Oh, and feel free to comment on anything. (Months and months and not a comment yet, I must really only have three readers after all).

Thursday, March 10, 2005

The Man in Black vs. Blonde on Blonde

Ok, not really a mashup, but I found these mp3s of a session recorded in 1969 by Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan. (Many thanks to Between Thought and Expression for making these available.)

I have to tell you that my four-month old iPod has re-awakened a love for music. I probably do more to seek out new bands and am listening to new bands or rare tracks at a much higher rate than at any time since my early 20s (must... fill... up... iPod).

To see what I listen to while slaving the days away, just check my audioscrobbler account (or click Now Playing at right).

np: Doves, Some Cities.