Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Greatest of all time (futbol division).

Following on an earlier NBA debate, I offer up my picks in two categories for the greatest footballers of all time. It's easy to pick goalscorers, but keepers and defenders can be great too. Each list is alphabetical

First is the classic division of players who were at the peak before 1960.

Jose Leandro Andrade
Alfredo di Stefano
Stanley Matthews
Ferenc Puskas

The best post–1960 players now and a larger list because I saw them play

Franz Beckenbauer
Yev Lashin
Zinedine Zidane

Honorable Mention
George Best
Johnan Cruyff
Kenny Dalglish
Ruud Gullit
Paolo Maldini
Gordon Banks/Pat Jennings/Peter Schmeichel/Dino Zoff (you choose your favorite)

My picks for GOAT footballer finalists come down to three (you have to win a world cup to even compete). The usual suspects, Pele and Maradona, and Der Kaiser, Beckenbauer.

For Americans unclear on the concept. In baseball terms,

To get this last bit, watch the famous adidas+10 at 21 seconds in when CGI Der Kaiser strolls onto the "pitch" majestically and without breaking a sweat.

In the NBA terms of the original debate,

Maradona=Jordan, but
Beckenbauer=Magic, and thus

My contrarian pick for GOAT footballer is Beckenbauer.
Three reasons: won a world cup as captain, coached a world cup winning side, and was leader of what was arguably the greatest modern European club side, Bayern Munich of 1974–6, and thus probably the greatest club side of the modern era.

Let the debates begin . . .

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

The party's over.

After 42 years on the air, the Beeb is shutting down The Top of the Pops, sending it to the musical tv graveyard which also includes The Old Grey Whistle Test, Friday Night Videos, Don Kirschner's Rock Concert, Hullabaloo, and, of course, The Ed Sullivan Show.

I imagine Simon will have something to say about this.

For me it ended the summer of Hanson (1998), when "MMMBop" ruled BBC 1's airwaves and the three lads from Tulsa flew across the pond weekly to lipsynch their hit "live" at show's end. Isn't that like pouring a lot of pounds down the drain for no apparent reason?!!? Why was this the only time I've stayed in England recently that I had regular access to a telly? The Horror The Horror! At least the Cricket and F1 coverage were good.

Where's Dandy Don when we need him most? or at least Sid doing "My Way".

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Modern art.

I accompanied the shadowy Wm. P. Andrews to his secret studio lair somewhere on the central MSU campus. There I saw a representative sampling of his most recent work as well as some pieces that dated back over fifteen years. Here are two wide studio shots (if wide isn't a misnomer for the studio!).



The most recent work involves an attempt to capture the dynamics and aesthetics of Miles Davis and John Coltrane's music in an abstract minimalist fashion on canvas with oil. This one is done; where's Miles and where's Trane in here do you think?


This one is the most recent and remains a vision unfinished as yet.

recent and unfinished

A bit older are what I call the coathanger art series. Here Mr. A starts to unveil them.

Interrupted coathanger art

Why coathanger art? Well, the designs are based on sketches of sculpture made out of deconstructed and reshaped white coathangers done some years ago.

Coathanger sculpture

Coincidentally I am the proud owner of WPA's work Blue Fugue (2001).

Choose me.

Could this be the World Cup where the perennially underachieving Spanish national team, la selección gets its act together? Evidence from opening matches can often be misleading, but a by all accounts comprehensive 4 nil thrashing of Ukraine is a positive sign, as is the recent success of La Liga clubs in European competition ( especially the big 2 Real Madrid and FC Barcelona). Stay tuned for further developments.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Deutschland über alles.

6 goals in the first match. Awesome plus some great attacking, flowing footie. The first and last German goals were long-range strikes of the highest quality. Above Frings' blast off a corner stuns the Costa Rican goalie and Torsten celebrates. And their star Ballack didn't even play. Klinsmann should feel free to give the midle finger to all his doubters, but he really does need to get off the offsides trap. You got burned twice, and it could have been thrice easily. Great start to the month!

UPDATE (6/11/06):
For a variety of reasons personal and aesthetic, I'm going to avoid turning TNA into a month-long football blog, as that's not it's raison d'être. But don't worry, I will blog on some key matches and Cup highlights!

For those of you wanting more World Cup bloggage, here are a few excellent sites:
Admittedly as an occasional contributor, I am biased in this blog's favor. Still the coverage is thorough, the comments insightful (especially those by gclark, daz, and bakerkm45), and the variety of links extremely useful.

Guardian.com World Cup 2006 coverage
Check out the daily podcast live or via an iTunes download. Personally, I find the Guardian's live gameday commentary more interesting than that provided on BBC Sport (see below). Also the various blogs are fascinating: see the links section in Argie-Bargie (above).

BBC Sports World Cup
Given my personal anglophilia, I have chosen the UK version of the site. Feel free to select the International version bubble. Either way you won't be disappointed with the quality of the coverage.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Daddy's cup.

With apologies to Gary Bettman and Lord Stanley, there is really only one cup that matters a great deal in sports. That's right all you sports call in show soccer haters— it's time for the quadrennial FIFA World Cup.

The show opens this Friday, 11:00 Am CDT in München at the newly constructed stadium with a match betwee hosts Germany and Costa Rica.

Some key early matches include:

6/10 8AM CDT England versus Paraguay on ESPN2
This match will tell us a lot about the real quality of the Three Lions. Paraguay are the sleeping giant of South American football (a region which boasts arguably the world's two best national squads, Brazil and Argentina) and a fashionable sleeper pick for the tourney as a whole:
Paraguay have one of the best central midfield partnerships in the whole tournament and if Santa Cruz is healthy they have a top 5 strike pairing too. They lack speed at the back but are extremely steady and experianced. They're the most dangerous sleeper in the tournament and underestimate them at your perrill.
Titan Fan post #14 (http://kffl.com/forums/showthread.php?p=2767582)

6/11 11AM CDT Mexico versus Iran on ABC
Chronic underachievers on the World Stage, El Tri must defeat upstart nuclear wannabes.

6/11 2PM CDT Angola versus Portugal on ESPN2
The golden generation of Portuguese talent (FIFA World Youth Champions in both 1989 and 1991) have aged a lot and were shock losers in the final to Greece at home-based Euro 2004, but this match still carried delicious colonizer/colonized political implications due to Portugal's lengthy refusal of the decolonization process.

6/12 11 AM CDT United States versus Czech Republic on ESPN2
For any realistic chance of advancing to the second round, The US needs to beat either the Czechs or the Azzurri and tie the other assuming they dispatch Ghana. Currently, the Czechs are ranked #2 in the world by FIFA.

The complete Cup schedule can be found here.

12 years ago I was lucky enough to be at Stanford and attended several World Cup Matches, most famously seeing Oleg Salenko put a World Cup record 5 goals past a demoralized and unpaid Cameroon on his way to 6 and a tie for the golden boot despite Russia being eliminated in the first round! The eventual champions Brazil were in this group, and their fans kept sleepy Los Gatos up nights with the samba beat. As a child, I also happened to be in Italy in 1970 the night Brazil famously beat the Azzurri 4–1. The Italians still celebrated!

brazil! brazil! brazil!

Monday, June 05, 2006

Noise in the hallway.

Across the Universe

So Law of Nature held their semi-annual "reunion" gig at Rick's Friday night. It was nice to go to that place and not have it be just an undergrad meat market. There were some folks there I hadn't in 6 or 7 years, since LoN's heyday at Dave's. It's kinda pleasant hanging out with a crowd averaging thirty-something in age.

Anyway Chapman and Jennifer drove in from North Texas.


Mike the stickman flew in from Vegas, babee!

Hard on the 1!

Andy meandered down from Carolina.

The Sherminator

I grabbed a few pre-show pictures and then settled in for an evening of rock and roll.

Trouble in Paradise?

Apparently I'm da Man!

Gorjus came up from Jackson, just having to share his Water Valley fashion find with us!



It was also nice to see Mr. and Mrs. Kicker of Elves, Mr. and Mrs. Redneck CEO, Mr. and Mrs. Zepfan Numero Uno, and Mr. Gun Dog.

Law of Nature rocked as hard as ever. Highlights included the 2 Pixies cover: "Gigantic," and


"Where is My Mind?"

Where is my mind?

I had to get up early the next day and prepare for a major training session, so I cut out a few minutes early and missed their rendition of this entry's title song. Can't win 'em all!

Sunday, June 04, 2006

One bourbon one scotch one beer.

My new blues radio show, part of WMSV's The Juke, Sunday Blues programming, went live tonight. I'll generally be on every other Sunday from 8:30-11:00 pm Central Time. But I'm taking Father's Day off to be with family and so that the DJ I'm replacing—British Rob—can have one last farewell show. So see you in a month.

Below is the actual play list for the first show:

Son House, "County Farm Blues" (request for Polly)
The Fieldstones, "Blues at Nightfall"
Charley Musselwhite, "Here My Train A' Comin'"
Etta Baker, "One Dime Blues"
Albert Collins, "Honey Hush!"

Mic Break

Albert King, "The Sky is Crying"
Elmore James, "Madison Blues"
Aretha Franklin, "Drinking Again"
BB King/John Lee Hooker, "You Shook Me"

Mic Break

The Rolling Stones, "Confessin' the Blues"
Ray Charles, "Nobody Cares"
Big Bill Broonzy, "Going to Chicago"

Mic Break

Beau Jocque & The Zydeco Hi-Rollers, "Ma Brunette (Pine Grove Blues)"
Blind Willie Johnson, "God Moves on the Water"
Pharoah Sanders w/Leon Thomas, "Next Time You See Me"

Mic Break

Mississippi Fred McDowell, "Jesus is on the Mainline"
Memphis Slim, "Fast Boogie"
Little Milton, "Grits Ain't Groceries"
Memphis Minnie, "Killer Diller Blues"

Mic Break

Champion Jack Dupree, "T.B. Blues"
Hound Dog Taylor, "Buster's Boogie"
Howlin' Wolf, "Smokestack Lightnin'"
Coleman Hawkins, "Blues Change"
Coco Montoya, "Talking Woman Blues"

Mic Break

Willie Dixon, "I Can't Quit You Baby"
Willie King & the Liberators, "Pickens County Payback"
David "Honeyboy" Edwards, "Pony Blues"

Mic Break

The Burnside Exploration, "One Cold & Lonely Night"
Charley Patton, "Mississippi Boweavil Blues"
Doc Cheatham with Nicholas Payton, "I've Got a Right to Sing the Blues"

Mic Break

Desmond Dekker, "Israelites" [In Memoriam of a Caribbean Soul Blues brother]
Jesse Fuller, "San Francisco Bay Blues"
Dirty Dozen Brass Band, "New Orleans Blues"

Mic Break

Don Covay and The Jefferson Lemon Blues Band, "Mad Dog Blues"
Jimmy Reed, "Down in Mississippi"
Guitar Slim, "Later For You Baby"

Mic Break

Eddie Cusic, "Catfish Blues"

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Happy birthday mr. president.

Marilyn Monroe would have been 80 years old today. Whatever you think of her "acting" abilities, she is undeniably the iconic female beauty of the second half of the 20th century, as this amazing Magnum Photos slideshow reminds us!