Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Arsenal after Henry

I've had a few days to absorb the news that Arsenal's talisman is leaving--and never did the word "talismanic" seem more apropos than when speaking of Henry. I would like to think the shock of the move (although it was long suspected) has worn off, but I may regret these words midway through the 2008-2009 season. Yes you heard me right. A whole season away.

In short, I think this move may be in the best interest of the club in the long term. Of course, it may hurt Arsenal's title chances in the coming season missing his goals, but then again, the team seemed to perform better with Robin van Persie healthy than it did with Henry healthy. So, in the short term, missing a healthy Henry will hurt the club. I'm not sure it totally hamstrings their title chances next season, but that depends on whom Wenger buys in the remainder of the transfer window. After that, I think the absence of Henry will only be a bonus.

Think about it. Thierry Henry was Arsenal football. Everyone on the club deferred to him. And that is dangerous. In the short term, the club will miss his goals, but not his ego (though ego is never a bad thing in a footballer to a certain extent). This will make the team Cesc's and Kolo's, and to a certain extent, van Persie's--all players playing in the shadow of number 14.


All of this assumes of course that Wenger stays after next season, that Arsenal spend some money (which is obviously now available) this offseason, and that the ownership situation stabilizes. If Kroenke splashes a lot of cash about August, all the better (even though I'd prefer the club's ownership to remain stable).

Right now, I expect numbers 11 and 5 to take much of the burden, even if it is not quite enough this season. Last season showed that Arsenal is capable of going toe to toe with the other three of the top four (best record in round robin), now all they need to do is take care of the lesser opposition. I think that exposing them to the bright light outside of Henry's shadow can only do them good. They won't look to him first anymore. Instead, they'll begin to make their own luck, and van Persie has proven what he can do with that.

So, I'm not expecting them to win the league, but its not absolutely out of the question without Henry. Chelsea still looks somewhat vulnerable, and no one played Man U better last season.

What do I expect? Arsenal finish in the top four again without too much trouble (sorry spurs, you haven't proven anything despite how good Berbatov is); qualify for the Champion's League; advance to the knockout stages to face Barcelona (you just know this will happen); and make a run to at least he semifinals in the FA Cup. And yes, I expect Silverware still.

What do I want? Arsenal challenge for the league fighting Man U and Liverpool tooth and nail to the finish; win the FA cup; Robin van Persie nets a hat trick and Lehmann notches a shutout against Barcelona in the first leg of the knockout stages of the Champion's League (sorry Titi, all bets are off); Henry gets a brace in the return leg and is the best player on the pitch to no avail as Arsenal advance behind some fabulous saves from Fabianski (Lehmann being suspended yet again due to an accumulation of yellow cards).

C'mon you Gunners!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Henry Completes Move to Barcelona

I really don't have anything to add. I recently guaranteed a friend that he'd return to Arsenal, but as soon as I sent the e-mail, I knew I'd probably made a mistake.

I'll always remember those goals. Best of luck in Spain Titi.

UPDATE: Of course I'm gutted by this move, but I won't let it get me down on the man's enormous contributions to the club. For eight years, he was the best striker the Premiership had ever seen.

Weekly Music Report

Alas, this week I have to rely on my Last.fm profile to report which music I listened to the most last week, even though it doesn't count those songs that were played while I wasn't connected to the Interweb. Why do you ask? My iPod gave up the ghost on Saturday (though it has a appointment in the shop today). In any case, here are the most played artists recorded last week by Last.fm:
  1. Snowden
  2. The National
  3. Simple Minds
  4. Beulah
  5. Afghan Whigs
  6. The Hold Steady
  7. Echo & the Bunnymen
  8. Superchunk
  9. Pavement
  10. Garbage
With any luck, the regular, more accurate music report will return next week--either with a fixed iPod or a new one (even though I'm not really ready to drop that kind of cash, it has become almost indispensable).

Friday, June 22, 2007

The American Film Institute has updated their contentious list of the 100 best movies ever. Edward Copeland compares the new list with the original 1998 version.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Free Fonts to Spruce up Your Resume

UPDATE: It appears that the site with these fonts is not Peter Saville's official site (you can find that here--definitely have a look around). So these fonts probably don't have any connection to Mr. Saville, but they're still neat fonts, even without the connection. And that certainly looks like the font used on Closer.

Peter Saville, a designer famous for his work on record sleeves for Factory Records, is now offering free downloads of the fonts he used for some of his most famous record sleeves.


What would that on your resume say about you? (hat tip to Kottke)

NP: "Going Home" - Luna

The Sad State of U.S. Soccer Uniforms

Slate has the details (with pictures). Some of these are just abysmal, including the blue pinstripey number the team will be wearing in the Copa America next month.

While I disagree with the article concerning the white kits the U.S. wore in the World Cup last year (I liked them), I've long been an advocate of using a style of uniform similar to the 50s kit that brought the U.S. what may be its greatest triumph to date (2002 notwithstanding)--upsetting England in the World Cup.

A red sash on a white kit works for River Plate, why not the U.S?

NP: "Beware" - Afghan Whigs

Monday, June 18, 2007

Intown Living

I've never noticed it before, but when I'm outside my loft, I can actually hear the whistles of the traffic cops directing shepherding traffic out of the Turner Field lots.

NP: Baseball Tonight

Weekly Music Report

During the last week, I listened to the following music the most (ending Sunday):
  1. The National - 7 tracks
  2. Camera Obscura - 6 tracks
  3. Echo & the Bunnymen - 6 tracks
  4. Arcade Fire - 5 tracks
  5. ...And You Will Now Us by the Trail of Dead - 5 Tracks
  6. British Sea Power - 4 tracks
  7. Ted Leo & the Pharmacists - 4 tracks
  8. Afghan Whigs - 4 tracks
  9. The Futureheads - 4 tracks
  10. 4 artists with 3 tracks (Hüsker Dü, Kasabian, Sparklehorse, Stephen Malkmus)
I've had a relatively light listening week as I only listened to 254 unique songs. As always, you can keep up with my current listening habits over at my Last.fm profile.

NP: "Delicious" - The Catherine Wheel

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Happy Bloomsday!

James Joyce's Ulysses, which many consider to be the best novel of the 20th century, took place 103 years ago today.

Yes I said yes I will Yes

.


NP: "Declare Independence" - Bjork

Thursday, June 14, 2007

More on the War Against Science

A recent Gallup poll show that a majority of Republicans in the U.S. do not believe the theory of evolution. This is just more evidence that reason and many of the powers that be in this country are not compatible. It's funny that other theories that are just as established aren't under fire such as gravity and the fact that the earth orbits the sun (oh wait). Wherever science doesn't match a strict world view (whether it is religion-based or greed-based), it's alway seems to be the Republicans fighting reason and science. This anti-intellectualism quite worries me.

NP: "Porcupine" - Echo & the Bunnymen

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Not M.I.A.

Maybe the folks who put together the class of '91 newsletter read this blog. I'm no longer M.I.A. as I received said newsletter today. I do notice that my freshman year roommate is among the missing though.

It must be time for them to start asking about money.
100 words every high-school graduate should know. I have to admit, there were a couple I didn't know, and there are words that I've never used, even though writing is my trade.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Apple Moves onto Microsoft's Turf

Safari is now available for Windows. I've long been a proponent of Firefox, but the introduction of Safari for the PC is yet another reason to ditch Internet Explorer. I'll probably install it and give it a go since so many of my Apple loving friends swear by it. Download Safari.

NP: "Fake Empire" - The National

Weekly Music Report

I listened to a lot a music last week, 599 songs to be exact. Here are the top 10 artists for the last seven days:
  1. Blur - 10 tracks
  2. Game Theory - 10 tracks
  3. Husker Du - 10 tracks
  4. R.E.M. - 10 tracks
  5. Echo & the Bunnymen - 8 tracks
  6. Ted Leo & the Pharmacists - 8 tracks
  7. Toenut - 8 tracks
  8. The Charlatans U.K. - 7 tracks
  9. Catherine Wheel - 6 tracks
  10. Neko Case - 6 tracks
    The Church - 6 tracks
    Death Cab for Cutie - 6 tracks
    Explosions in the Sky - 6 tracks
    Idlewild - 6 tracks
    Iron & Wine - 6 tracks
    Lush - 6 tracks
    The Pixies - 6 tracks
    The Pogues - 6 tracks
    Pulp - 6 tracks
    Wilco - 6 tracks
To see more realtime information on what I'm listening, visit my Last.fm profile page.

NP: "Natural's Not in It" - Gang of Four
Writers list their favorite film adaptations of novels.

Friday, June 08, 2007

U.S. Men Begin Road to 2010 World Cup

Sports Illustrated currently has a couple of good articles about a crucial summer for the U.S. Men’s National Team. First, Greg Lalas writes that the Bradley Era has officially begun, which goes some way to assuaging my concerns about his permanent appointment.

While I was initially against the naming of Bradley as the interim coach, his performance has merited the removal of that tag from his job. This is now his team, and how they perform this summer will go a long way toward showing what kind of soccer the team will be playing, and even who will be playing it. I’ve admired how he’s begun bringing in new faces to replace Brian McBride and Claudio Reyna, who retired, as well as to challenge other veterans who may have been complacent in their roles.

The second by Johan Freedman argues that this summer is crucial in the beginning the road to the World Cup. I agree with a lot in this article. Particularly his point about the level of opposition.

It’s about time the U.S. began playing stiff opposition on the road. Traveling to Venezuela for the Copa America is an excellent start. They’ll find much stiffer competition than the team faced in the World Cup warm ups. With all due respect, Argentina, Paraguay, and Columbia are much better than Morocco, Venezuela and Latvia. And that’s not all, the team is traveling to Europe this fall to play matches against a number of countries, including 2006 World Cup participants Sweden and Switzerland.

Finally, Freedman states that this summer sees the U-20 world championships. This tournament, later this summer, will showcase the future, and players should be looking at this as the best way to showcase their talents and begin the arguments for inclusion in the senior squad when qualification gets underway next year. I’m looking at you Freddy Adu, but I’m also expecting big things from Red Bull New York phenom Jozy Altidore.

How’s it working out so far? The U.S. opened the Gold Cup with a 1-0 win over Guatemala, a team that traditionally plays them very tough. Clint Dempsey scored the winner, and I expect that will begin to happen more and more often. More surprisingly here was who wore the captain’s armband—it wasn’t Landon Donovan. I’m not sure why either, especially since he had just begun recovering his form this winter. I guessing it’s getting other players experience with it before leaving for South America since Donovan likely will be staying in the U.S. for that tournament.
Virtual tour of the creationism museum in Kentucky.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

SportsFilter member, The Old Man, reminisces about seeing Babe Ruth play baseball. His take on Ty Cobb. [scroll down for both]

Blogging the Bible

Over at Slate, David Plotz has completed his blogging the bible series, with his take on 2 Chronicles.
That's it! After 39 books, 929 chapters, more than 600,000 words—and just over a year—I've finally finished reading the Hebrew Bible... I just wanted to read the book and write about what it's like to read it. No essays, no philosophy, no experts.
Since his project focused on the Hebrew bible (he is Jewish), the order may seem a little odd to Christians or those familiar with the King James version of the bible. I've been following this series since the beginning, and it has been entertaining and occasionally enlightening. I highly recommend it.

He's now looking for someone to resume the project with the New Testament. And I'm looking forward to it as well.

NP: "In a Different Place" - Ride

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

ATL BBQ Quest: Williamson Brothers BBQ

Continuing our quest to find the best barbecue in Atlanta (first part), K. and I recently headed up to Williamson Brothers Bar-B-Q in Marietta. Although I had eaten there many times when I worked in suburban Atlanta, it had been years since my last visit to this establishment.

Since the last time I had been there, the restaurant had expanded, so I suppose business is very good. This time, we both ordered the pulled pork dinner (two sides), and it was all you can eat for the same price. I had the baked beans and coleslaw, while K. went with the green beans and onion rings.

Our dinners arrived quickly, we tucked into the pork. The meat itself was pulled into small pieces, and it had a delicious smoked flavor. Overall the quality and taste of the entree was outstanding. I would like to talk about the sauce a bit more. Generally, I prefer more vinegary sauces, and this one had some sweetness to it which I usually don't like all that much relatively speaking. But there was something about this sauce. It's like crack cocaine. I'm mostly a light eater these days, but I availed myself of another heaping helping of the cue. It's gotta be the sauce. So, even though I would have thought the sauce would be a minus, it turned out being a big plus. They have there own brand of hot sauce to supplement things too. Big thumbs up there.

As for the side, they were mostly passable without being outstanding. I did like the coleslaw, though it was a bit on the dry side. I don't know that I've ever had baked beans that impressed me either with their goodness, or their badness. Overall, the sides were average, but I won't let that detract from the score too much since the main attraction was so good.

Overall grade: B+. Great meat. Pedestrian sides. Crack-like sauce.
The Armageddon Flowchart. (via kottke via Rebecca Blood)

Justification for Higher Education


Just so everyone is clear on what we're talking about in the comments to my M.I.A. post. That's me in the Ferrari.

The funny thing is, this poster didn't seem at all out of place in The Palms, the main bar serving W&L's students in the late 80s and early 90s. It really did capture a bit of the spirit of most of the student population. It's only looking back over a couple of recessions and an Internet bubble popping that this seems so funny (horrible art aside, which we ridiculed even then).

And yes, as of last year, it was still hanging in the same spot in the bar.

Maybe this explains my pleasure at being one of the unknown alumni.

NP: "In the Shadows" - Ivy

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Pirates probably never said "Arrrr!" Dammit.

M.I.A.

I'm officially missing.

I'm not talking about my lack of updates to the blog either. Nope. This is more official than that.

A friend informed me yesterday that the official newsletter for my alumni class lists me as missing. Now, on one hand, this isn't very surprising for a number of reasons. I moved last fall, I ditched my land line in favor of going entirely mobile, and I haven't given money to my alma mater for quite a while (almost never... the 20-odd thousand a year they received in my name for four years should be enough).

On the other hand, this surprises me a lot in this day and age. Hasn't whoever is in charge of this newsletter ever heard of the Interweb? All you have to do is google my name, and low and behold, this site is the first result. My resume, which lists the university and my graduation year? The second result.

Even worse, I still receive actual mail from the general alumni office, and my information is correct in their alumni-connections database, including my new address, e-mail address, and phone number.

So, for a quick experiment, I google a classmate that I haven't seen (nor heard of) since graduation. How long did it take me to find his contact details. About a minute.

I know that I may be a little more comfortable with performing such things online as others since it is intrinsic to my day job, but this is a little ridiculous. Did these people sleep through the 90s? So I suppose I'm only missing through their inaction.

Of course there's still an upside: they can't call me begging for money and I don't have to read about all the things that those classmates I don't keep in touch with are doing. [Ed. Note: Karma will get you back on the list for slagging on them like this.]

NP: "The Wait" - The American Analog Set
Win Butler of the Arcade Fire stole some guy's basektball. Or Not (according to his brother Will). And it gets weirder. And weirder still.

What the World Eats

Time magazine provides a photo essay of the food that families from around the world eat during a week. You can also see how much money they have to spend on food, and what their favorite meals are. I especially like how children in Italy also like frozen fish sticks.
Never piss off a redneck that owns a backhoe.
Marc Andreessen gets his blog on. I do like his insight on Web 2.0.

Monday, June 04, 2007

I Saw It on Ponce

Even though I no longer live a block from Ponce de Leon Avenue [Ed. Note: pronounced Pawntz dee Lee-on] here in Atlanta, it's still my favorite street, and it bisects my favorite 'hood in the city (I did live there for almost 10 years after all). So, if anyone wants to check up with what's going on down on Ponce, make sure you check out the new addition to the blogroll, I Saw It on Ponce. He's currently featuring the some crazy doings at The Usual®, and The Willy Terry Story (Bicycle Pants Man), first featured here last November.

I was reminded of this gem by a story on Atlanta bloggers in Creative Loafing. I also would highly recommend PeachtreeScreed, but the proprietor is sadly moving to New York. Finally, lest I be accused of being remiss, another blog featured in the article, Cable and Tweed, is as good a music blog as there is.

NP: "The X-Files Theme" - Spiritualized

Weekly Music Report

Ahhh, back to normal posting. I listened to the following music the most last week:
  1. Jenny Lewis with the Watson Twins - 13 tracks
  2. The Arcade Fire - 12 tracks
  3. The Stone Roses -12 tracks
  4. The National - 8 tracks
  5. The Wedding Present - 8 tracks
  6. Game Theory - 5 tracks
  7. Pulp - 5 tracks
  8. R.E.M. - 5 tracks
  9. The Replacements - 5 tracks
  10. The Mendoza Line - 5 tracks
As usual, a lot of artists only got one or two listens. Over the last week, I listened to 255 total songs, which means a lot of diversity. If you want to peek in on what I'm listening to at any time, visit my Last.fm profile.

NP: "Double Day" - The Afghan Whigs

Corndogorama

This may interest my Atlanta readers. This year Corndogorama is moving from East Atlanta to Lenny's Bar just around the corner from my loft. Lenny's is actually the third closest bar to my place of residence (and you know that I keep track of such things). The annual celebration of the South's favorite carnival food is happening between July 12 - 15.

Snowden will be headlining that Saturday night. Other notable acts include local favorites such as Magnapop, The Liverhearts, The Preakness, and The Selmanaires (full schedule). So if y'all don't have anything happening that weekend, come on down to the 'hood for some music and corndogs!

NP: "California" - Lucero

Saturday, June 02, 2007

The Past is a Different Country


Note: Your humble correspondent is in the lower right quadrant of this photo, and I no longer look anything like that. Further, I do not now, nor did I ever, display the hippie-ish tendencies this photo may imply. I've never even did a noodle dance for goodness sake.