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 June 22, 2006 - 06:54 PM | chris
More on Soccer

Lucas made another good point about soccer in a comment to my last point about the World Cup, that much of the game is spent pretending you were injured to try and get the other player thrown out of the game. When I was at the gym the other day, there was a World Cup match on and it was halftime of a 0-0 game (after about 3 "penalty minutes" haphazardly tacked on to the end of the half).

During the halftime show, they showed a "highlight reel" of the great plays of the first half. It consisted of 2 clips. The first was a player getting kicked in the shins (keep in mind these players wear shin guards, hard plastic and foam that protects their shins from being kicked), falling to the crowd, screaming in agony, and lying motionless on the field while the rest of the game continues without him until finally the referee stops play so he can be attended to by an army of trainers and then continue playing 2 minutes later. The second was someone taking a shot on goal that was so off-line that the goalie didn't even move to attempt to block it. Those were the high points of the entire first 45 (+3) minutes of play?

Then there is the US team, which lost today. In their 3 games combined, they took 4 shots on goal. That's not a typo, that's just a single number 4. Now, you could argue that the team just didn't play well, but four shots in three games? There were only 4 chances for a US fan to get even remotely excited in 270 minutes (+arbitrary penalty time) of mindless kicking and injury-faking, yet people wonder why soccer isn't more popular in America?

 June 18, 2006 - 08:12 AM | chris
The World Cup

I know that because it's the World Cup and all, I'm supposed to care about soccer. Sportscenter,, and PTI, all of which haven't mentioned the word soccer in 3 years, all of a sudden have meaningless matches between countries I've barely heard of as the top story. The problem is, the sport is still dreadfully boring.

I know, I know, I'm a myopic American. The fans are crazy and great (as long as you're not from one of the countries where the fans kill you if you accidentally tip the ball into your own goal), and it's the most watched sporting event worldwide.

It's not so much the lack of scoring that turns me off (although that is a big reason) as much as the inane timekeeping system. As far as I can tell, the clock starts at zero and counts up until 90 minutes, at which point the refs arbitrarily add on extra time based on how much time they think elapsed when no soccer was going on (penalties, injuries, drunk fans running onto the field naked, those long 20 minute stretches where the ball never leaves the midfield area).

This is possibly the stupidest thing I've ever heard of, and as far as I can tell makes it unique from all other sports. Almost all other team sports have timekeeping as the one rigid aspect while everything else (balls and strikes, first downs, whether the player who grabs another player's crotch gets thrown out of the game or not) is a subjective judgment call. In letting refs arbitrarily decide when the game ends, Soccer has reduced every single aspect of the game to judgment calls, which leave even more room for drunken fans to riot and loot and burn the field.

 June 15, 2006 - 04:54 PM | chris
Don't Mess With Texas

As I complete my training class in Dallas, I must say it was not what I expected.

What I expected: 95% of the population wearing cowboy boots, large belt buckles, and/or ten-gallon hats.
What I found: Only about 5% of the population wearing tacky westernwear, but many many many stores selling it.

What I expected: Horrible accents.
What I found: A few "howdy"'s and "y'all"'s, but not nearly as much as in Atlanta.

What I expected: tumbleweeds and sagebrush.
What I found: Traffic, office buildings, and many many many billboards for strip clubs. Like you can't go a mile down the highway without seeing 2 or 3 ads for them. It's surreal.

Overall the only thing that differentiates Dallas from every other large city in the country is the Texas attitude. I can't think of another state where everyone has state flag stickers on their cars, wears state flag shirts, and even wears sunglasses shaped like the state! Bumper stickers like "I'm from Texas, what country are you from?" are prevalent. And I'm not totally sure what it is they're so proud of, besides maybe the sheer number of sleazy strip clubs.

 June 01, 2006 - 06:47 AM | chris
Chris v The State of Missouri: Part Deux

I've been living in Kansas City for almost 2 years and you know what that means (besides bearing witness to literally hundreds of Royals losses): time to renew my license plates. Or time to jump off my balcony, whichever is less painful.

I chronicled my past adventures a few years ago when I registered my car here for the first time. Only 6 months and thousands of dollars later did I finally get a title with my name on it. Unfortunately the Property Tax information is still in my Dad's name (don't ask me why), which will mean a few more delightful trips to the courthouse downtown, with 2 years of old receipts, utility bills, and credit card statements in tow.

I often make fun of the absurdly rich for how out of touch they are with popular culture, often due to the fact that they pay lackeys to perform the tasks that the rest of us do every day. Paris Hilton never heard of a Wal-Mart because she never does her own shopping, at least not for the kinds of things (i.e. "broken things") that one gets at a Wal-Mart.

But this is one case where I would gladly take up the mantle of the rich and pay someone to do my dirty work. The thought of having to traipse around the county begging mindless MODOT drones to renew my plates makes me want to pay my own lackey to do the wrangling for me, or at the very least pull a St. Louis and steal someone else's tags.

Are there any services like this out there? I see a lot of ads for maids, but no ads for MODOT Wranglers. This would be a great business venture for anyone who can take a lot of punishment. Between that and a bullet train between KC and St. Louis, we can fix this broken state yet.