Wednesday, June 30, 2010

WCP #24: Player of the Day Before We Hit the Road

Real quickly, w/o any of the witty commentary you've come to expect from all of us here @ Visions of Ypsi, Your Visions of Ypsi Player of the Day. After the Japan loss, I was expecting to go w/ someone from Spain or Portugal, but then once I saw the game, I was tempted to go w/ Landy Cakes who made a stellar appearance on Letterman last night. I think there's something less than honorable w/ that pick though so here it is, your Player of the Day, the goal scorer from the Spain v Portugal match, the 1st person to win the award a 2nd time in this tournament, David Villa.
Insert your own caption here

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

WCP #23: Goin' Up the Country

Tomorrow we'll be leaving early for a trip to the North Country. We'll be spending the 1st night @ Straights State Park on the NE side of the Mackinac Bridge. We plan on hitting The Mystery Spot in the afternoon & then on to some swimming. Day 2 includes a cruise up to Tahquamenon Falls. I haven't been there since I was 8 or 9 years old... I'm super excited. We have a few options for the morning of the 3rd day (Friday). We may hit Michilimackinac after we get back into the Lower Peninsula. Our other options are the Oden State Fish Hatchery which is free & lunch @ Leggs Inn in Cross Village. On Friday evening, we're going to the big retirement party & alumni match for the Petoskey Varsity Soccer Coach. He's been in charge of the team since it began in the mid-80s. My dad was his JV coach back then when they were getting the team started, & he & my mom will meet us up there for the party. It should be fun to see some old friends. We'll be staying @ Petoskey State Park from which we can watch the fireworks on the 3rd. Before that, we're planning a drive to Walloon Lake & dinner in Charlvoix. Although, from a quick Googling, it appears that Great Lakes Whitefish & Chips might no longer be Great Lakes Whitefish & Chips. In which case, we'll have to improvise, possibly hitting Scalawags in Petoskey instead. On the 4th of July, we plan to drive down the coast to Sleeping Bear Dunes, & then keep on cruising until we happen upon a place to stay somewhere between Frankfurt & Manistee. All in all, it should be an awesome time, but I'll need to figure out how to catch the Brazil v Netherlands match w/o pissing off the whole family.

Speaking of soccer, I imagine most of you are awaiting the Player of the Day. Well, wait no longer for the Visions of Ypsi Player of the Day in upon you. Look on his works, ye mighty, & despair! He's never won the award before, & I hazard to guess he won't again, but after getting lost in Man City & then getting shipped home to Santos, he seems to be turning his career round again. If nothing else, he ran the show yesterday so don't let it be said that we don't give credit where credit is deserved. Your Visions of Ypsi Player of the Day, Robinho.
He's 26 but he looks like he's 21

Monday, June 28, 2010

WCP #22: Spacey-a-thon Post #3

A round-up of 8 of the Spacey films we've watched so far this summer.
*Consenting Adults (1992): This is a shit movie. It attempts to be an early-90s sex-thriller, but lacks the sex... & the thrills. The main lesson from this film is that when casting a sex-thriller, don't look to Kevin Spacey or Kevin Kline... or Mary Elizabeth Mastantonio. It borrows a bit from Vertigo, but the main difference here is that Vertigo is a great film.
*Swimming w/ Sharks (1994): It's worth watching to see Brett from Pulp Fiction (the guy who gets his head blown off) & Ensign Ro get yelled @ by Spacey. It's a pretty 1 dimensional film, but the twist @ the end surprised me. Avoid it.
*The Ref (1994): When this came out, it was billed as Dennis Leary's springboard to super-stardom. I don't know that that ever really happened. It was about what I expected... Home Alone w/ obscenities. I'd heard a lot about it, but it didn't live up to the hype.
* The Big Kahuna (1999): We watched this about 10 years ago, & I really liked it then. It's certainly the best of the 1st batch here, but it has some problems. It must be a really cool play though. If you haven't seen it, we get 3 salespersons in a hotel room during a conference. The 1st act occurs before a big party, & then the 2nd act occurs after the party. In that regard, it reminds me of David Storey's play, The Changing Room, about a rugby team before the game, during the interval, & after the game in the locker room. There are also hints of Waiting for Godot which are always fun.
* K-PAX (2001): This is a really interesting movie, but the relationship between the Jeff Bridges character & the Mary McCormick character just doesn't work. it's a fun discussion of science & sanity, but nothing too mind-blowing.
* The Shipping News (2001): I'd heard a lot about this & had always wanted to see it. It didn't live up to expectations, but it is alright. On the plus side, the music & cinematography are beautiful. On the negative, there are too many tear-jerky, melodramatic twists... the kid sold into black market adoption, the family rape, the prostitute who dies in a car crash. The novel upon which it is based won the Pulitzer, but the plot seems more like a Jodi Picoult straight from the head-lines crap-fest. See it, but ignore the ridiculous twists & focus on Spacey acting his ass off & the beauty of Newfoundland.
* Superman Returns (2004): I hated this when I saw it a few years ago, but it holds up pretty well. The plot is ridiculous, & Lex Luthor as a shadey con artist who marries for money is weird, but Spacey is great as Luthor. The other actors are forgettable, but if & when Spacey gets his wish... ie.: a sequel, I'll see it.
* Shrink (2009): This is a fun movies, but nothing too remarkable. Spacey plays a psychiatrist to the stars in Hollywood, but his wife has recently killed herself & he's as depressed as his patients. The cast is good, it's got some funny &/or touching moments, but it's a pretty forgettable film.

This has been the round-up of the first 8... 1/6 of his films. We've watched 8 others & have 32 more to go this summer. We'll see if we make it through them all. It's already becoming a bit of a chore.

And now, your Visions of Ypsi Player of the Day. I saw neither match yesterday so I have to base this on the highlights & the match reports, but I'm happy to report that the Argentine striker who I could afford for my fantasy team netted twice (as did Jim in his last appearance for The Green Team before his big move to Chicago)while Messi was pretty silent. Mexico seemed to have the same problem w/ Argentina that Arsenal had w/ Barcelona in the 1st match a couple months ago... they could shut down Messi, but then couldn't stop all those other goals from flying in from everywhere. So here you go; for the day England was eliminated by Germany... no big surprise what-so-ever... Your Visions of Ypsi Player of the Day is Carlos Tevez.
here he is... looking even stranger than usual

Sunday, June 27, 2010

WCP #21: The Day After

Yesterday evening, we had a fantastic time w/ friends, beer, & Mexican Slayrides. We hung out around the bon-fire for a few hours, & I got some fucked up beliefs about a certain colleague who will remain nameless here confirmed. I also learned that Joe, as a Twain scholar, is the embodiment of the patriarchy (I always kind of assumed that too).

Earlier in the day, before the hopes & dreams of our entire nation were crushed by shit-ass performances by Ricardo Clark & Robbie Findley, I nearly finished the Hen House. Before that, I got to watch the S. Korea's hopes & dreams get crushed in a similar manner. When I woke up yesterday, I was hoping I'd get to give The Visions of Ypsi Player of the Day Award to Landy Cakes or Dempsey, but that was not to be. Instead, we need to go w/ the man responsible for picking apart the S. Korean defense, your Visions of Ypsi Player of the Day: Uruguayan footballer, Luis Suarez
Happy to face Ghana rather than the USA

Saturday, June 26, 2010

WCP #20: You Slay Me

Come on by this afternoon to watch the USA Ghana match & enjoy a few Mexican Slayrides for my big B-Day celebration, or come on by this evening to sit by the bon-fire & enjoy a few Mexican Slayrides for my big B-Day celebration. Either way, come on by. Before that, I'll be working on the Hen House some more & we may mosey on up to the Luna Lake thing @ Prospect Park. The USA match this afternoon should be a good one, or a least not the snooze-fest that we saw yesterday. Portugal's tactics worked, but they certainly didn't allow for much of the champagne football we here @ Visions of Ypsi demand. Spain produced some of said champagne football, but by they end only Fabregas was really trying to create something interesting. Had he been on for the whole match, he'd certainly have won himself another award, but as it stand, we have to go w/ the man who had the vision to put in a 50 yarder & then work his ass off to get the assist to Iniesta for the 2nd goal. Your Visions of Ypsi Player of the day: David Villa.
He's excited because he heard there may be Slayrides this afternoon

Friday, June 25, 2010

WCP #19: Hens & the Blue Samurai

I've never been the most handy of people, but when we got the chickens the other day, I realized it was down to me to make something in which they can live. I looked @ a few pictures of coops & hen houses, learned the difference between coops & hen houses, & made a trip to the hardware store. W/ a pile of 2x4s, a box of screws, some ply-wood, a couple rolls of poultry netting (chicken wire) & a circular saw in tow, I went to work. After working for hours & hours yesterday, I've got the run, a protective area for them to hang out & graze around the yard, finished. It's 6' long & triangular. I'll attach the house to the end this weekend before the USA v Ghana match. They won't start laying until the fall so I have some time to tweak it a bit; I'll post some pics once it's finished. This is by far the biggest construction project I've ever undertaken. we'll see how it goes.

The other thing we'll see is how The Blue Samurai do in the knock-out round. They impressively made it passed the Danes yesterday, & while Van Persie & Sneijder both had great games for the Dutch yesterday, your Visions of Ypsi Player of the Day Award goes to a man whose family are no strangers to competition. His brother was an Olympic wrestler & his uncle was an Olympic canoeist. I've never met someone who would say something to the effect of "Canoeing for fun is fine, but I need to go to the Olympics to really canoe"? I don't think I knew it was an Olympic sport. That's awesome. And now, having scored a sweet free-kick & then making the goal @ the end, you Visions of Ypsi Player of the Day, Keisuke Honda.
Groundbreaking! He is the 1st Asian to win the award

Thursday, June 24, 2010

WCP # 18: Tigers & the Knock Out Round

In 1984, a kid down the street from us got a puppy. It was a poodle, I think, & annoying as Hell. Said kid, David Carlson, who went on to be in Bill Clinton's security detail (@ least that was the rumor... I haven't spoken w/ him since 1988), in a fit of excitement, named it Gibby after Kirk Gibson who had just lead the Tigers to a World Series victory. Well, Aiden made a similar move yesterday afternoon. I wasn't able to watch the USA match so he was tasked w/ Facebooking anything important so I could read along on my phone. Afterwards, Little Clint Dempsey (the chicken) became Landy. Just 2 short years ago he was sitting in as a guest poster on this very blog. What an amazing rise he's had. Klose could have netted a hat trick, gone in goal for a red-carded keeper, stopped a penalty & then split the atom @ his press-conference... he didn't have a chance to pick us the award today. Landy Cakes' stoppage time winner not only sees the USA through to the next round, but they go through as the #1 team & avoid Germany in the Knock-out Round. If they get passed Ghana (& they should) they'll face either Uruguay or S. Korea in the Quarter-Finals, & I think they can beat both of those teams. All in all, Landy's late winner then means by avoiding Germany, they should be favorites to advance through to the Semis. I gotta admit, I didn't see that coming a few weeks ago, so Your Visions of Ypsi Player of the Day is none other than Landy Cakes himself, Landon Donovan.
Some people celebrate winning this award more enthusiastically than others

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

WCP #17: Team USA

Watching the French team implode was pretty fun, but not fun enough to make up for the fact that my beloved Bleu went home home w/ 1 measly point. Gourcouff's Red Card was a bit harsh, but obviously, that's only the tip of an enormous iceberg of problems in the team. Overall, it was one hell of a ride. Now we can look ahead to the 2012 European Championships w/ Laurent Blanc @ the helm. Here's to hoping the US squad can pull off something a bit more positive. One would think they should be able to get by Algeria, but one would have thought that Spain would beat the Swiss, Brazil would take apart N. Korea by more than 1 goal, Germany would beat Serbia, & of course the French.... There have been some weird surprises; let's hope today doesn't give us another one.

And your Visions of Ypsi Player of the Day, again, doesn't go to a French player. I was hoping to be able to give it to Ribery after he scored 7 goals & took the French through, but that was never likely. Instead, we have to go w/ a S. African who worked his ass off & sealed the fate of Les Bleu by bundling in the 2nd goal yesterday: Katlego Mphela
He loves Neil Peart

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

WCP #16: A pinch of grain lasts the wee beasties for a day*

On Sunday evening, Stephanie informed me that her friend had some chickens that needed a home. She's been talking about her desire to get chickens for quite some time, but I didn't think we'd really do it. After my class today, I'm off to the store to get stuff to build a coop & play area (wood, screws, chicken wire, etc.) They're actually pretty hilarious, & once they start laying eggs, we should be ready to eat the hell out of some eggs. According to Wendy (big props to her for helping us get set up yesterday), w/ the 4 we have we should expect about a dozen a week which is about what we go through now, but if it works out, we may need to get a couple more. Aiden named his Dempsey, a name w/ which I am totally down. Solstice went w/ Jar Jar because she (the chicken, not Solstice) is really fucking dumb... & here we are talking about levels of dumbness I've never experienced before... they're all pretty fucking dumb... they're chickens after all). Stephanie seems to be leaning towards Chewbacca, the Rhode Island Red, because it is bigger & browner than the rest (I know, "That's what she said"). For the 4th, I was leaning towards Zidane (or Domeneche), but now I'm rethinking it. I'll have to wait. These are the names in the running: Zidane, Domeneche, Shaft, Ming the Merciless, Dora, & Swiper (Isaiah seems a little afraid of the idea of one named Swiper though). I'll post more pics once I finish their new abode this afternoon or tomorrow. *[[The title has been changed because I had the quote wrong... we now have a different Montgomery Scott quote in its stead... & it's not really a very accurate claim because they eat everything.]]And now, what you've all been waiting for... your Visions of Ypsi Player of the Day! Spain clearly looked better than in their 1st match, & Villa's brace was nice, but Portugal's man-handling of N. Korea was something to behold. I 1st became aware of this guy 4 years ago when he won a "Leshlush Player of the Day" award, & Don S. was totally crushing on him. While he only scored @ the end, he dictated the pace of the game, got an assist, & generally proved why he's considered one of the best in the world. Of course, before he scored, he caught the ball on the back of his neck, rolled it down to his foot, & passed it into the net. The neck trap looked accidental, but still, it was pretty amazing. So w/o further ado, the 1st person to win the award @ two consecutive World Cups, Cristiano Ronaldo.
On his knees in celebration... of this award

Monday, June 21, 2010

WCP #15: Matsuchan & Vuvuzela

After the Verde FC match yesterday morning, a match in which I blew out the inside left big toe of my boots, I went w/ Elizabeth, Dan, & Sammy to Matsuchan, the new ramen shop @ Ford Rd. & Sheldon in Canton. (Check out the review on Yelp. I went w/ the Tofu/Vegetable ramen which may have been a mistake. The salt broth was pretty bland. Both Dan & Elizabeth got much better stuff. I don't recall what Dan got (it was really good though), but Elizabeth got the Soba/Miso Salad & it was awesome. The place is tiny & uber-authentic. Go there.Afterwards, we hit Soccer World on Canton Center. I scored a new pair of boots to replace the blown out toe & I scored some Vuvuzela for the kids. They came to the Green Team match & had a great time blowing them on the side-lines. As for the shoes, I got some Diadoras that were on 1/2 off clearance which was pretty cool. I wore them for the 1st 1/2 & then switched back to the old ones to avoid the blisters while I'm breaking them in. I think they'll work out well.

And now, Your Visions of Ypsi Player of the Day. a big part of me (but not my cock) wanted to go w/ Patrice Evra for unifying the French squad against Domeneche. I'm loving the melt-down & their willingness to air their dirty laundry on such a grand stage. I think it should really go to someone who actually played yesterday though, which leaves us 2 options. Fabiano finally shined up his scoring boots, but the 1st was lucky & the 2nd was the result of his use of his hand... twice. If Henry is a villain for putting Ireland out w/ a hand-ball, Fabiano must be seen in a similar way. Cote d'Ivoire was looking likely to score until he put in a 2nd which changed everything. They are unlikely to progress now (especially w/ Portugal's hammering of N. Korea while I write this). Of course, they're just Cote d'Ivoire & he's not French so it will go relatively unnoticed. But not by me. This leaves us w/ the 2nd option, a man whom I never would have expected to get this prestegious award. He scored Brazil's 3rd goal, work his ass off, & wass then taken out after a nasty tackle on his shin: Elano.
Revolution has come... time to pick up the gun

Sunday, June 20, 2010

WCP #14: Father's Day, Food, & The Beatles

Since Dan & I have 2 matches today, the family celebrated Father's Day yesterday by watching games (& Support Your Local Sheriff) & BBQing @ my parents' house. And we continued our attempt to eat our way though the Nations of the World Cup. We had huevos rancheros for breakfast (Mexico) & then enjoyed Shrimp on the Barby (Australia) & skewered Ground-Nut (peanut) & Coffee encrusted beef w/ baked yams. Grinding the peanuts w/o turning it into peanut butter was tricky, but then mixing in ground coffee, red pepper flakes & chili powder was easy (Western Africa: Cote d'Ivoire, Nigeria, Cameroon, & Ghana). It turned out really well & everyone seemed to like it, but I think I just don't like steak much, which is fine, because after this experiment ends, I think i may need to revert to vegetarianism for a while again (other than for our vacation & during Celtic Fests). For dinner the night before, Stephanie brought Roast Duck w/ garlicky red-skin potatoes up to Nicola's for me (France). Along w/ England & USA, this mans we've covered 7 of he 32 countries so far. We may actually be able to do this.

For Father's Day, my parents got me World Cup 2010: An Indispensable Guide to Soccer & Geopolitics. The analysis is a bit biased & informal, but the chapters about history & politics are fascinating. There are also fun facts about each country. Plus, there is an inexplicable reference after each squad's analysis to the Beatles song that most closely represents the aforementioned squad. They aren't explained & quite often make no sense... I like it a lot. Of course, USA, England, & Brazil make sense.
*Mexico: "I Should Have Known Better"
*S. Africa: "When I Get Home"
*France: "Tell Me What You See"
*Uruguay: "Helter Skelter"
*Argentina: "come Together"
*Nigeria: "Please Please Me"
*S. Korea: "Don't Pass Me by"
*Greece: "Get Back"
*England: "Carry that weight"
*USA: "I Me Mine"
*Slovenia: "Nowhere Man"
*Algeria: "It's All too Much"
*Germany: "I'll Get You"
*Ghana: "Getting Better"
*Australia: "You Know What to Do"
*Serbia: "Slow Down"
*Netherlands: "W/ a Little Help from My Friends"
*Denmark: "I Feel Fine"
*Cameroon: "I've Got a Feeling"
*Japan: "All Together Now"
*Italy: "when I'm 64"
*Paraguay: "All I've got to Do"
*Slovakia: "You Know My Name"
*New Zealand: "I'm a Loser"
*Brazil: "Free as a Bird"
*Cote d'Ivore: "Run for Your Life"
*Portugal: "Let it Be"
*N. Korea: "Do You Want to Know a Secret"
*Spain: "We Can Work it Out"
*Switzerland: "I'm Only Sleeping"
*Chile: "Bad Boy"
*Honduras: "Help"

And now, your Visions o Ypsi Player of the Day. He led the Danes in their fight-back to be only the 10th team in World Cup history to record a come-from-behind victory. Bendtner feels he should get the award, but it goes to Matthew McConaughey... no, I mean Danish geriatric Dennis Rommedahl!
A round of applause for all of the previous winners

Saturday, June 19, 2010

WCP #13: Deep Space & Deep Frustration

We went out to the Savoy last night to see Deep Space. It'd been a couple years since we last saw them. The rain seemed to keep people away... there was a very small crowd, but over the last 2 years, they've gotten much tighter & more inventive. The opening band, Mr. Shiz (or something like that) was alright; they came complete w/ a sax player & a Seger cover. I wonder if they also did Springsteen tunes before we got there. I also wonder what inspires people in 2010 to put together an A Street/SIlve Bullitt type band. Deep Space's setlist was cool, but I can't remember it as precisely as I'd like. They opened w/ "The Mighty Quinn," played "Mexicali Blues" 2nd or 3rd & and early "Chinatown Shuffle" that confused a lot of people. They also played an interesting "Wish you Were Here" that nearly fell apart right before the vocals start, but they pulled it together nicely. Stephanie claims I put that song on some mix-tape for her when I was 18. I guess the message I was sending to her was "I wish you hadn't blown your mind on acid so we could still record music together." What was I thinking? Other highlights included a long "Estimated," a funky "Hard to Handle," a cool "Up On Crippled Creek," & I think they closed they closed w/ a fun "Franklin's">"Throwin' Stones." I hope we don't have to wait another 2 years to see them, but Sean claimed they may be taking some time off soon, so we'll see. As far as The Savoy is concerned, they still need to make some changes if they want to become a cool venue for live music. 1) better beer 2) better prices 3) glasses instead of plastic mugs 4) locking the door from the bar next door so random Tucker Maxesque frat boys can't aimlessly wander through looking to get laid.

Speaking of improvements that need to be made, the ref in yesterday's USA v Slovenia match could have done a better job (the USA could have done a better job in the 1st half too, but come on!) His name is Koman Coulibaly, & you can hate him by joining "Yanks who Hate Koman Coulibaly" here. This guy deserves 10x the vitriol that was spewed @ Jim Joyce. At least the Tigers still won that game & it was just one in a long season. This is the World Fucking Cup! Taking the win away w/ such a shite call is unacceptable. Unacceptable I say! What would Jackie Chiles say? "Unacceptable, inexcusable... incomprehensible!" And this brings us to what you've been waiting for... Your Visions of Ypsi Player of the Day. After a piss poor 1st half, but before a piss-poor entire game from England, the USA fought back to draw w/ Slovenia 2-2. Landy's goal was pretty sweet, but it was the holding midfielder who dug in & really pushed before getting the equalizer himself. Edu was robbed, but Your Visions of Ypsi Player of the Day is Michael Bradley. (He's the 1st person so far to get the award after having also gotten it @ the 2009 Confederations Cup... I'll have to check the archives to see who won @ the 2008 European Championships.)
Check him out... telling the ref what's up

Friday, June 18, 2010

WCP #12: Domeneche is a Dumb-Ass Douche

hThey're 2 games in & sitting on 1 point. The French team has too much individual talent to be the shite-squad they have become. Raymond Domeneche has them playing like a bunch of assholes. No team w/ Anelka, Malouda, Ribery, Gourcuff, & Henry should be able to play 2 matches against seemingly lesser competition w/o scoring. Of course, Abidal's 2 howlers didn't help the situation, but the blame for this really rests w/ the coach. I've been calling for his sacking since 2006. They lost in the finals then because of his stupid mistakes. (If you recall, Zidane had dislocated his shoulder & was asking for a sub, but RD the DB took off Henry instead... Materazzi was then able to punch him in the shoulder & talk shit which led to his dismissal which led to the penalty shoot-out w/o Zidane or Henry.) I called for him to be fired after their piss-poor display @ Euro '08 & during their piss-poor displays in qualifying for WC 2010. They still have a slight chance to get through the group, but they need to win big against Algeria & Mexico needs to win big against Uruguay which won't happen because for Mexico & Uruguay to go through, they both only need a draw.

One wonders how Derrida would have reacted to this match? "This therefore will not have been a match at all, but some other de-centered thing." Jean Paul Sartre? "The match itself is a representation of the vast nothingness into which each individual has been plunged" (I think he'd be right). Luce Irigaray? "There is a masculist ideology underlying the result of the match which must be re-contextualized in order to decenter the loss & decenter the language in general." Foucualt? "The culturally constructed opposition between winning & losing will be shown to have been collapsed like the oppositions between gay & straight, sane & crazy, powerful & powerless, etc." Hélène Cixous? "The phallogocentrism represented in sport from the highest levels of FIFA to the lowliest American blogger is always being subjected & deconstructed by the Écriture féminine. Baudrillard? "The match is the similacra for the world, but the world is therefore the similacra for the match; origin & simulation are cast aside & the winners & losers therefore don't matter. Paul de Man? "I must call into question the very claim that the match ever actually took place." If it were only that simple. (And Karl Marx is arguing off-sides).

The USA plays this morning & I'll have to miss the match. I'm not pleased about that, but c'est la vie. It suddenly looks like they have a better chance to progress through the tournament than the French. I assumed they'd get out of the Group Stage, but after they're draw w/ England, they could actually finish top & avoid Germany in the Round of 16. That's pretty sweet. of course, another team worth avoiding for as long as possible looks to be Argentina. Maradona has suddenly done something right & they're clicking. Of course, this brings us to the meat & potatoes of this post. It was a tough call because Messi played really well, but it's hard to ignore a hat-trick, even when other people really made the goals, so Your Visions of Ypsi Player of the Day is Gonzalo Higuaín.
Licking his lips in anticipation of their match against Greece & then theit match against whoever wins France's group

Thursday, June 17, 2010

WCP #11: Spain WTF?

Spain's shock loss to Switzerland brings us our 1st real piece of drama. I haven't been quite as disheartened by the style of play as many in the media claim to be, but it's nice to see something weird once in a while. The fact that brazil only beat the Democratic People's Republic 2-1 was about as shocking as things had gotten. I wonder if things would have been different for Spain had the coach used Fabregas as more than a book-end on the bench w/ Valdes to keep Reina from rolling off the end. Furthermore, I wonder if there is some sort of conspiracy. It's long been known that to play for Italy, one needs to play in the Serie A. Could the same thing be happening in La Liga. If Fabregas wants to get his rightful spot in the La Roja, he may need to make that switch to Barcelona. In fact, the Royal Spanish Football Federation may be forcing his hand. Even if that isn't the case, something strange was going on... & that strangeness might just come down to 1 man, the man who saw his team out-shot 24-8, & the man who let none of those shots into the net, your Visions of Ypsi Player of the Day: Diego Benaglio.
Nice hands, brother

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

WCP #10: Vuvuzela... A Defense

Last summer during the Confederations Cup there was a lot of talk banning the Vuvuzela. People were upset by the noise & the networks showing the games claimed they interfered w/ the watchability of the matches. I assumed that once the television networks got involved they would be banned tout suite. And I was totally down w/ it. The swarm of bees sound is more than a little annoying, & it's making the singing/chanting usually associated w/ le foot impossible. Over the last few weeks, major news organizations have started beating the old drum to ban them too. Mike Celizic @ NBC has pointed out that they are dangerous. A good reason to ban automatic weapons, unfortunately, I need a little more than that when it comes to a horn. besides, where was NBC after the Hillsborough disaster? Where were they during the Munich air disaster? People have been murdered because of this game. countries have actually gone to war after soccer matches. And it is about this that people are getting all worked up? The Wall Street Journal got a few words in on Sunday too. Again w/ the health risk. As if people singing/shouting/chanting in their neighbors ears is any better.

What's really going on here is that these journalists are using the supposed health risks as a smoke screen to hide their real problems w/ the Vuvuzela. Namely, they want soccer to follow the European/S.American traditions. Celizic even went so far as to suggest that "Tradition is never a good excuse to do anything." Absolutely right. However, hiding behind this claim in order to support the cultural superiority of Europe & South America is an even more problematic tradition. He, & people like him, don't want to do away w/ noise @ the matches, they want to do away w/ non-Eurocentric noise. Sing your songs about blood, murder, rape & religious intolerance, but don't blow a fucking horn.

FIFA president, Sepp Blatter has recently come out in support of the Vuvuzela & he is absolutely correct. FIFA, & the world media, has been claiming that the World Cup will showcase African culture, yet all these groups want to ban anything associated w/ the culture that is different than what we have come to expect. The Vuvuzel goes back to the 1970s (a relatively new cultural tradition), but it's a huge tradition none-the-less. Blatter knows that this is an important part of the World Cup (maybe more important than the outcome). If the World Cup is to be this cultural exchange as it's always been billed, we need to accept the culture that is being exchanged. Otherwise, we're just being racist & zenophobic. And that's a European tradition worth dumping.
And now, your Visions of Ypsi Player of the Day. Since this is post #10, I was hoping for a good traditional #10 to have a big game yesterday. Ronaldo had a great long shot. Robinio did a little show-boating (that came to nothing). Hamsek played well but didn't really stand out. Kaka repeated his recent form for Real Madrid... he had a shite game. He was lost & cold... & went to ground much too easily (Robinio did that too). Since this was the case, I had to rethink the direction of today's award. It certainly doesn't go to the Korean left back. He was beaten over & over & over again. So w/o further ado, I give you your Visions of Ypsi Player of the Day: Brazilian right back, Maicon.
Hey maicon, how do ou feel about the result yesterday? "Comme Ci, Comme Ça"

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

WCP #9: The Best Laid Schemes....

Problematic Scheme #1:
Yesterday, Stephanie suggested that we try to coordinate out meals w/ the cuisines of the countries represented in the World Cup. Awesome idea! Except that we're 5 days into it, it's only 30 day long, there are 32 countries, & I work a couple nights a week which allows me to break soman w/ the family. That said, we're going to attempt it anyway. Now I have 4 major projects for the summer on top of work, vacation, planning a class & reading for class: 1) Spacey-a-thon 2) world Cup-a-thon, World Cup cuisine-athon & 4) Article in defense of the Vuvuzella (blog post to come soon in regards to this one). I think we'll have to bring a few cuisines together to shorten the proses. N. & S. Korea can share a meal (& their people can learn through example like looking to the Black & White cookie. Uruguay & Paraguay might be able to have a single meal. Nigeria & Cote d'Ivore can go together. Finally, think Australia & New Zealand (bbq shrimp w/ Marmite sandwiches) might work as a one-off as well. We did USA on Saturday w/ Hot Dogs, & England yesterday w/ Bridies, Bangers & Mash, & Ploughmans. We may have to use the Perogies & Kielbasa to represent Germany (they controlled Poland for a little while & it's in the fridge already, is that insensitive? If so, we'll come up w/ something else). I'll keep you all posted on how it works out.

Problematic Scheme #2:
I spent the better part of the last year trying to devise a way to get the family to S. Africa. Obviously, it didn't pan out. I then logged on to The Phil Zone the other day for the 1st time in ages to get a Phish set-list & i found a link to the blog of a fellow Zoner who is actually in S. Africa & going to matches right now. my schemes didn't pan out, but his did. You can check it out here.

Problematic Scheme #3:
I was assuming Buffon would have an easy game for Italy yesterday. I battled my emotions & made him my captain on my fantasy team. As it turns out, he gave up a goal & then was subbed out 2 the half w/ an injury. All my hopes & dreams of appointing him the Player of the Day were dashed. This makes us then move on to other options. The only match I was able to watch yesterday was the 1st one: Netherlands v Denmark. Oddly, Bendtner had a really good game, & oddly, he was then subbed out (his fitness was a question beforehand so maybe he was just still hurt). Of the Dutch though, I was a bit surprised. They played well, but not as well as I expected. The young Eljero Elia (named after a mis-understanding of Al Jarreau's name... I shit you not) had a strong showing, but it was the Arsenal man who takes today's award. Your Visions of Ypsi Player of the Day: Robin van Persie.

Here he is w/ the strange numbering on his shirt

Monday, June 14, 2010

WCP #8: A Quickie Player of the Day Post

As the Dutch are set to play in a 1/2 hour, I need to keep this quick. Yesterday's matches started out dull as fuck. I ended up giving up on Algeria v Slovenia & mowing the lawn. I missed the 2nd major goalie debacle of the tournament as Slovenia got a lucky win (in what might be the coolest jersey of the tournament... w/ that Charlie Brown zig-zag across the front), but then watched the Ghana v Serbia match before going to my games. I've always like Ghana, & I was happy they were able to pull it out in the end. After my 1st match, Liz, Dan, Sam, & I sat in the bar @ Ford & Canton Center to watch the 2nd 1/2 of the Germany v Australia match. The Aussies looked set to pull 1 back, but then the ref inexplicably showed Cahill a red card. He was in line for your Player of the Day Award until that happened. As it stands, it only seems fair to go w/ a German since they won 4-nil. I considered a few, but in the end, Your Visions of Ypsi Player of the Day is none other than Asenal transfer target Mesut Ozil. Much of their best stuff came through him, but I doubt Wenger will actually buy him. He'll end up @ Chelsea, I'm sure.
Here he is, looking oddly odd looking

Sunday, June 13, 2010

WCP#7: Rob Green & Your Player of the Day

The first order of business involves the fact that you'll notice "World Cup Post" has been shortened to "WCP." Not since Regis changed "Is that your final answer?" to "Final?" has the English language experienced such an important abbreviation.

In the Nigeria match yesterday, Vincent Enyeama played a fantastic game in goal. If not for Heinze's sweet diving header, he'd have kept a clean sheet against Messi & Company. He was an early leader in the run-up to the Player of the Day selection, but then the USA v England game happened. Both keepers in that match made me happy, but only one could be you Visions of Ypsi Player of the Day. I considered naming Rob Green because of his ridiculous gift for the US, but as an impartial observer, I need to remain impartial. I did, however, become a a fan of his on Facebook, & you should too... the comments are pretty hilarious. After you do that, you can read what the British papers are saying about him:
* Daily Mail
* The Guardian
* The Times
* Telegraph
* Manchester evening News
* The Daily Record (Scotland)
* Irish Times

And now, w/o further ado, your Visions of Ypsi Player of the Day, sporting a bulging vein on the side of his head to rival Simon Bar Sinister, Tim Howard.
Grade A badass!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

World Cup Post #6: Free Booze & Your Player of the Day

Before I went to Plum Market in the morning, I finished watching my DVD of the France v Brasil match from 1986 w/ Isaiah... he loved it, but then again, who wouldn't? I then went to Plum for a few hours which meant I had to miss the opening match. I was able to hear the pre-game stuff on BBC News Hour, but only caught the highlights of the match later (Aiden watched it all & gave me a good overview though).

I went to Conor O'Neil's (Dan B showed up too) to watch the France v Uruguay match. I met a dude named George & hung w/ him until Dan showed up. He's been following thee french team since the 1960s so we had a good time talking about the old days. In fact, I have to make him a copy of the France v Brasil 1986 match & bring it up there for the next game. As it turned out, my fears about Raymond Domeneche were made manifest in the starting line-up. Maluoda on the bench w/ both Toulalan & Diaby was ridiculous. Then, subbing Anelka & Gourcuff out for Malouda & Henry was another major mistake. Of course, waiting as long as he did to make the change was a 3rd problem. The team must feel like the crew of the ship in The Caine Mutiny. I'm sure rather than taking responsibility for the draw, he was looking for some missing strawberries. What a stupid fucker!

On the positive side, before the match started, some drunk Tucker max lookin' guy stood up & declared our area of the restaurant his "living room." this meant that all rules were thrown out the window & more importantly, that he was buying everything. I thought he was kidding, but @ the half, the wait staff informed us that they were really buying. I ordered an expensive Scotch. All in all, a cup of soup, a sandwich, fries, 3 pints of Murphy's Stout, & a glass of Glenfiddich.

After the match I went to work @ Nicola's & then out to The Corner w/ Stephanie for another pint. We were stittin' @ a table w/ a bunch of the Children's Lit Conference people when suddenly the bottom of my glass fell out & an entire mug's worth of Stout landed in my lap. Once it was cleaned up, they gave me a couple free rounds... I'll take a lap-full of brew for free beer any day of the week.

What? Wait... you're looking for the Visions of Ypsi Player of the Day? Alright, Without further ado, your Player of the day for Match Day 1 is the Uruguayan footballer through whom all their chances flowed. He's been a workhorse for Atlético Madrid & Uruguay for years, & it's clear that if Uruguay are to get anything out of this tournament, they will need it to come from him:
Diego Forlán
A Player of the Day who played on a day of a France game but is not French... mark your calanders because I don't see that happening ever again

Thursday, June 10, 2010

World Cup Post #5: Recent Memories (plus a little preview)

Tonight I'll give you the final post of the Visions of Ypsi World Cup Memories. We'll take a look @ 2002 & 2006 & then a quick look ahead @ this weekend's excitement.

About 4 months before the Japan/S. Korea tournament, we moved into the house on Sheridan. The early matches were on @ 4:00 (or so... maybe 3:00... maybe 2:30) in the morning. i got up in the middle of the night for 2 weeks to watch the games, & the crazy lady next-door did too so we would always see each other's light on @ crazy ass times. After winning in 1998, France crashed out in the 1st round w/ 1 point & a -3 goal difference thanks to rock-star-like partying & all night gambling. The USA had their best showing ever though beating Mexico in the knock-out round & then losing a hard fought match to Germany 1-0 thanks to a 39th minute goal from Michael Ballack in the quarter-finals. This was the tournament during which Jason was living in Brasil, & Brasil won so he had a pretty freaking good time. Fat Ronaldo won the Golden Boot w/ 8 goals, & I was unpleased w/ the piss-poor showing from France.

I was working in the summer for my dad's mortgage company, & we spent our lunches in front of different Wayne & Washtenaw televisions. The USA finished bottom of their group w/ 1 point & a -4 goal difference. They drew 1-1 w/ the eventual winners, Italy, though so that was pretty cool. France barely made it out of their group, but once they did, they turned it on. Zidane had just come out of international retirement & ed the squad to some pretty fantastic results. I watched the knock-out game between France & Spain w/ my dad @ an Italian place in Livonia 7 they won 3-1. I saw the quarter-finals @ Conor O'Neil's in A2 & France beat Brasil 1-0... awesome! They then beat Portugal 1-0 in the semi-finals. The other matches I remember were the Mexico v Argentina knock-out round match (Arg. won 2-1 in extra time), Portugal v Netherlands in the knock-our round (Portugal won & there were tons of cards w/ fights & all sorts of craziness), & the England v Portugal game. I saw them all @ Conor O'Neil's & the England match was crazy w/ tons of British ex-pats losing their shit over Owen Hargraves' mediocre showing.

of course, the finals were a bit of a let-down. Matterazi, the Italian central defender kept punching Zidane in his dislocated shoulder which led up to the big head-butt. I really blame Domenech, the French coach, who refused to sub Zidane out after he dislocated his shoulder. Instead, he subbed out Henry who'd been having the season of his life. I was wearing my Zidane shirt, & since the bar was about 95% Italian fans, I thought I'd get my ass kicked, but they ended up being alright. Bigger losses occurred in the next few weeks, but they've been workedd out quite well, so maybe that's a good omen for the French squad. We'll see how they do tomorrow.

Tomorrow & Saturday:
I hope Domenech plays a 4-3-3, but usually he plays it a bit more defensively. Here's the line-up I would use, if the French Football Federation ever realized that I'd make a better coach than him.
They'll be playing Uruguay tomorrow @ 2:30... come up to Conor O'Neil's & watch it w/ me.

On Saturday, the USA plays England @ 2:30. be sure to watch it even though I don't have a lot of faith in the USA's ability to get much out of the match. Here's the likely line-up:
Landy Cakes----Clark-----------Feilhaber**
I don't know if it's a 4-5-1 or a 4-4-2, but it should be alright. Even if they don't get a point against England, they should get out of the group. The problem w/ that is if they finish 2nd, they'll probably end up playing Germany in the knock-out round which will be tough.

Stay tuned for the Visions of Ypsi Player of the Day tomorrow & everyday for the next few weeks.
*We could get DeMerritt instead.
** my knowledge of the mid-field is shakey @ bet, so it might be a little different.

And before the matches tomorrow, you can enjoy this... World Cup stars carved our of crayons.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

World Cup Post #4: The Middle Memories

A few days ago, I wrote about my earliest memories involving the World Cup. In this post, I'm going to discuss 1990, 1994, & 1998, but I'm not going to discuss them in order, so if you're married to the idea of a proper chronological post, you can start your own blog.

I was in high school. I was taking drivers' ed. & going to summer school for geometry (I also went for Algebra II the following year). I have a few vague memories of going to my Aunt & Uncle's house w/ my dad to watch games on their cable (we didn't have cable then), but I really didn't watch much. I was busy w/ my own team & w/ trying to meet girls so I just didn't follow it. My memories of teat one are so vague that I couldn't even remember who won it until I looked it up (W. Germany beat Argentina 1-0 thanks to an 85th minute penalty by Brehme)

I had just finished college & gotten married so soccer wasn't very high on my priority list. My dad taped a bunch of the games, & I watched the France v Brazil final over & over (France won!!!), but I really have no other memories of the tournament. It's ironic how little I watched the 1 time France actually won it.

I'm doing this one out of order because I have a lot to say about it. As you may recall, it was in the USA so many people got to see high levels of soccer for the 1st time. I got a gig ushering @ the Silverdome so I got to go to all 4 games that took place there.
Game 1: USA v Switzerland: It was the opening day of the tournament. The final score was 1-1 thanks to Eric Wynalda's equalizer @ the stroke of half-time. That's all I really remember of the match, but I certainly remember having a blast.
Game 2: Romania v Switzerland: I have no recollection of this match what-so-ever, but apparently it ended 4-1 for the Swiss.
Game 3: Sweden v Russia: Again, I really don't remember it very well. I know I was there, but that's all I know. Sweden won 3-1.
Game 4: Brazil v Sweden: I have vivid memories of this one. The Brazilian fans were amazing. It was like being @ a Dead show. People marching around w/ drums w/o any desire to actually see the match. they were there for the awesome party. Romario knocked in a goal @ the beginning of the 2nd half to tie it up. It finished 1-1 & it was the single best game I've ever attended. At one point, some suburban dad told me to make the people in front of him sit down. I told him to stand. I couldn't believe he expected me to ask some Brazilian dudes who had traveled 5000 miles and possibly waited their entire lives to do exactly what they were doing to stop doing it. Maybe now, 16 years later, he understands.

Ushering was fun & we got in for free, but I'll never forget the stupid red, white, & blue uniforms we had to wear, or the ridiculous gung-ho attitude of the rent-a-cops who were in charge.

The other main memory I have of the tournament is of Baggio's hair (& to a lesser extent, Alexi Lalas's hair too... but @ least Lalas just sort of looked like us, & why not, he was from Metro-Detroit). Baggio was the striker for Italy, they lost in the finals to Brazil after the match went to Penalties. He missed, but Romario & Dunga scored their attempts. It served him right w/ his stupid corn-rowed mullet pony-tail. & you thought Sagna made a strange hair style choice.

Be sure to check back soon for France & USA updates & for the recent (2002 & 2006) memories. I n the mean time, you can go here & join our fantasy league. The league is called DB WC2010. The password is 12345.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Dexter - Ann Arbor 10K

I road into town w/ Courtney & Don this morning. The race started almost on time, & we had fantastic weather. The run was cool & beautiful along the river & up through the woods. It was certainly nicer than just running the roads though Ypsi. The one downside to the run was that I was passed by a former student. I wasn't pleased as she ran by, said, "Hi Andre!" & kept on cruizin'. Other than that, I'm pretty pleased w/ how with turned out. I averaged 10 minutes & 43 seconds a mile which isn't fantastic, but I'll take it for my 1st ever race. Courtney came in a little later, but she hadn't been training much ahead of time, so I'm sure next year, after she's been training on the bayou for a year, she'll kick my ass. Don ran the 1/2 marathon in less than 2 hours... nice work! Shout-outs also go out to Steve K., Steve B., Stacey, & Rachel who all did well. Over all, it was fun, & I can definitely see myself doing it again. Maybe I can even think about working towards the 1/2 marathon. We'll see.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

World Cup Post #3: The Fantasy League

I know I should keep my team to myself until it becomes public on Friday, but I'm so freaking excited (& I know it won't really matter), so I'm going to post my team.
Goalie: Buffon (Italia)
Defenders: Maicon (Brasil), Pique(España), Sagna (Française)
Midfielders: Gourcuff (Française), Song (Cameroon), Hamsik (Slovenská), Schweinsteiger (Deutschland)
Forwards: Messi (Argentina), Van Persie (Nederland), Fabiano (Brasil)

Subs: Ziani (Algeria) def., Bernardez (Honduras) mid., Cesar (Slovenija) mid., Myong-Gil (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) goalie

As of right now, the league consists of myself, my brother, my father, Jason, Joel, & Demir. If you want to join, go here to register & create a squad, & then join the league: DB WC2010 & use the password 12345. And check back soon for my posts about the French & American teams.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

World Cup Post #2: Early Memories

Since the opening match of the FIFA 2010 World Cup is just over a week away, I thought it might be time to take a little stroll down memory lane.

I only remember a couple matches from the 1982 tournament in Spain. Only a few games were televised in the US, so we had to make do w/ what we had (or screw around on the roof for hours trying to get CBC to come it). I have more memories of my dad on the roof attempting to get the games than I have of actual games. I do recall one FA Final from back then, but what I remember most was the Subbuteo commercial @ half time. Anyway, I remember the final game, Italy beat Germany 3-1 & Paulo Rossi got another goal & then won the Golden Boot. of course, the kid next door, Paul Rossi, thought it was the coolest thing ever. In fact, I imagine he's still excited about it... you can friend request him and find out. This is when my hatred for Italian football began (it was only heightened by their ugly, defensive diving style later as I realized that's how they play).

My other memory from the 1982 tournament involved France & W. Germany in the Semi-finals. Everyone saw the France side, lead by Michel Platini, as the greatest team that year, but a shady call saw them leave after Extra Time & Penalties. I honestly don't know if I ever saw the game then or if I just know the story, but Battiston who was on a break away was taken out by the West German goalie, Schumacher. As Battiston lay unconscious on the ground, the ref missed everything. had Schumacher got the obvious Red Card, things would have been different.
Adidas Tango: Official ball of the 1982 World Cup
Almost every game was televised, either on NBC or ESPN. I had a sweet poster in my room w/ the entire tv schedule sponsored by Budweiser. It was for this tournament that Budweiser started airing framing style advertisements rather than cutting into the matches for commercials. This became standard for soccer (& other sports) afterwards. This was also the Tournament that introduced the world to "The Wave." Since it occurred in Mexico, people outside of N. America still refer to it as the "Mexican Wave." The games I specifically remember are France v Italy in the round of 16 (France won 2-0), England v Argentina in the Quarter Finals (Maradona's "Hand of God" goal... he also scored one of the greatest goals ever in that game). I don't have a strong memory of the France v W. Germany semi-final or even of the Argentina v W. Germany final, but the France v Brazil quarter-final was fantastic. My dad taped most of the matches & this is the one I watched over & over & over. A couple years ago, Jean found it on DVD, so I've watched it a few times recently (maybe this afternoon will call for another viewing). All the pundits were hoping this would be the match-up for the finals but they met too early. A Brazilian team w/ Zico, Junior, & Socrates (read about this dude... he's pretty amazing... not only was he one of the best players ever, he had a degree in medicine & a PhD in Philosophy). France won the game on penalties w/ Platini putting the ball over the bar (Socrates & Julio Ceasar [not the Inter-Milan goalie] missed their shots too). What a game! What a game.
Adidas Azteca: Official ball of the 1986 World Cup
I'm sure this month will provide us w/ some similar matches, but for one of equal awesomeness might be too much to ask. Stay tuned to Visions of Ypsi for more world Cup up-dates... & once the games start, be sure to check back for you Visions of Ypsi Player of the Day! And you can join the Fantasy Soccer fun here. Make you team and then join our league (league name: DB WC2010 / Password: 12345).