Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Congress 1, Paulson 2

Nonono, just kidding. Hah, I fooled you, you sumumabitches. This is what Paulson must be snickering to himself after successfully executing an all-time bait-and-switch job.

"...purchasing illiquid mortgage-related assets...at this time...is not the most effective way to use TARP funds, but we will continue to examine whether targeted forms of asset purchase can play a useful role, relative to other potential uses of TARP resources, in helping to strengthen our financial system and support lending."

Paulson turns around and, fuck what he told Congress, he's got something better to do with the money. After he made sure his homies were satisfied, the rest of the money will go to:
  • "...use the TARP to encourage private investors to come back to this troubled market, by providing them access to federal financing while protecting the taxpayers' investment..."

  • "...carefully evaluating programs which would further leverage the impact of a TARP investment by attracting private capital, potentially through matching investments...we will also consider capital needs of non-bank financial institutions not eligible for the current capital program..."

That sounds suspiciously like he's got more homies with their hands extended. Oh, and this shit will now cost (moves pinkie towards mouth) $3.5T...and they've already spent it. From Yahoo's TechTicker:

"...the tally so far is nearly $3.5 trillion, and that's before a likely handout for the auto industry.
Yes, $3.45 trillion has already been spent, as
Bailoutsleuth.com details:

  • $2T Emergency Fed Loans (the ones the Fed won't discuss)
  • $700B TARP
  • $300B Hope Now (the government's year-old attempt at mortgage workouts)
  • $200B Fannie/Freddie
  • $140B Tax Breaks for Banks (WaPo has the details)
  • $110B: AIG (with it's new deal this week, the big insurer got $40B of TARP money, plus $110B in other relief)

"Approximately 40 percent of U.S. consumer credit is provided through securitization of credit card receivables, auto loans and student loans and similar products. This market, which is vital for lending and growth, has for all practical purposes ground to a halt. Addressing these two priorities will have powerful impacts on the overall financial system, the strength of our financial institutions and the availability of consumer credit."

Let's not bullshit each other here. Of course, consumption drives the economy. It has fueled over 25 years of virtually continuous economic growth. If we stop spending, it would do far more harm than a few bad mortgages are doing. If the default rate on credit cards were to reach, say, (pulls number out of nearest trash bin) 15%, the credit markets will seize up like fuckinfuggedaboudet.

Aside - The median real wage has held steady for 40 years, meaning Average Joe's grandson is no better off than Average Joe. The growth has come at the top of the ladder, as the boss-to-shlub salary ratio has gone from 50:1 to 500:1. At the same time, public debt has increased from <$100B to >$10T (see debt clock). Taken simply, it's like the government has taken $10T and given it to the bosses.

The wrinkle is that consumption comes at the expense of saving and we passed the point where we spend more than we make a LONG time ago. At some point, the debt burden becomes too much to bear. Anyone with any economic sense knows that a day of reckoning is coming. If that people tighten up on their spending as necessary to tame consumer debt, it would scuttle US economy.

Tangent alert!!!

It doesn't even need to get that point. Corporations, especially publicly traded ones, have rosy assumptions of sustained growth factored into their planning (not to mention their stock price). When the outlook becomes less than rosy, like the Mafia after someone gets clipped for something that can get back to the boss, people get clipped left and right. Companies were cutting to the bone last time around, when the New Economy dream cloud was eviscerated, then evaporated in the smoke-screen of 9/11. This time around is already lot worse than last time around, as companies are positioning for the second round of job cuts.

As far as were concerned, it's like these corporations, having gotten people to flip into new cars every three years instead of five, and buying a new flatscreen every two years, by living outside their means, started factoring that these same indebted people will now flip into up-model cars every two years and by a bigger and better LCD every year. Apply a similar analogy to other industries. When putting off the saturation point becomes too much of a challenge, their strategy resorts to denying (to themselves) its existence.

For the banks>>brokerage houses>>investment bankers responsible for this clusterfuck, securitized debt is their LCD, and it's all dependent upon people speding beyond their means. Defaults are a temporary issue; not having debt to securitize is the long-term problem.

Remember Milken with the junk bonds? This is 5000 Milkens. This is a whole economy of Milkens.

Paulson and his homies know this and, as the powers that be have always done, are just trying to put off legitimate pain, both for themselves and, by coincidence, for us. I think I've told y'all this before; the foundation of all mental illness is the unwillingness to experience pain or legitimate suffering or discomfort. They've been putting off experiencing such pain for so long, call it Percocet for the economy, and most of us are so beholden to our debt, that we couldn't bear the pain.

End of tangent alert.

To get out of this pickle, they're going to have to find a way to put more money on the table for the American consumer. Unfortunately, since the system has been bleeding us dry for years, other than by stimulus packages, the modern day equivalent of caesar throwing loaves of bread into the crowd, they've probably got no clue how to get it done. I'd suggest, but they'd never do it. I'll rather save it for another time.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Eventful times

All this shit's been happening. I've been (vainly) trying to find those Baked Tostitos scoops, Halloween, playoff game (crushed those chumps on the first leg) and, uhhh, oh yeah...the nation elected (such as we can; we don't actually vote for President) a bi-racial cat to the Presidency...thass wassup.

Aside - I didn't vote for Obama. Bokolis always votes for himself. Life under Bokolis would be a good ol' time, until someone fucked up. Then, muthafuckas'll be getting executed like a muthafucka.

America has been so quick to suck its own dick for electing a black guy. If racial hang-ups weren't still an issue, nobody would give a fuck. But, like everything else, it's exaggerated and overblown. Obama was raised- in his version of an Army brat upbringing- mostly by white people. He's Ivy League educated and has been around the world like Akinyele and Lisa Stansfield's tour bus. If you turn up the sound and look away- the opposite of what you would do if Joe Buck were speaking- Obama is every other politician. The standard here is Derek Jeter, who is viewed outside of any race. Switch pigmentations on them and nobody would point out Obama's race...and Jeter would be far less clutch and Yankees fans may even acknowledge (to themselves) that he's a shitty fielder.

You know when we'll be past all the bullshit; when we have a stretch where 3 out of 4 Presidents that are something other than white males- they don't even have to be particularly good presidents- and there is no sentiment for a need to get a white guy back in there.

Baby steps, right? If you must focus on looks and/or pigmentation, it's not like Wesley Snipes, or some "real bruhh," (Chuck D?) is president. That's where I want to see y'all. Obama looks like Urkel, talks like The Rock. I can't bullshit; I'm waiting for Obama to pull off a mask and there's Bernie Mac, still alive, yelling, "Here I am, muthafuckas! Here I am!" I could picture Mac, in his twang, going, "...white people walking around, looking at each other (his eyes would be wide-open, looking around, p-noid like some shit was about to jump off), like, 'What the fuck did we just do?' "

Anyway, it only took eight years of the worst president in the history of our country and an ancient lizard, who projected more of the same, for an opponent, with politics' answer to Paris Hilton for a running mate. Putting aside his dogfight with Hillary because either one was going to break a ceiling, if Obama didn't have a good draw, then no one has.

Full credit to him, though. Let's see what ya got, homeboy. I mean, President-elect presumptive Obama. After the past 8 years, if Obama exits to the critique of, same ol' bullshit, it will mean that he will have held his own.

Kids (20-somethings) were out there celebrating like we overthrew the Bush dictatorship. While I think they are blithely naive if they believe real change is coming, I can't say that it was that much of an exaggeration. I thought for sure that the current cabal, when its time was nearing the end, was going to find some way to stay on...pull like a code red on the DHS scale, suspend the Constitution or some shit. There's still time, I guess. But I have to believe that Bush has a countdown clock on his desk and that he can't wait to get back to Crawford and re-hit the bottle. Laura Bush will have to be weaned off Zoloft. No worries, as long as she doesn't drive, we'll be all right.

We have lovely parting gifts for Gov. Palin, as well...a tee shirt, made in some hostile nation, like Africa, that says, "I ran for Vice President and all I got was a stupid wardrobe, which I'm going to return, 'cause I'm no diva." We also have a pair of Love Pink sweat pants, with "DRILL BABY DRILL" stitched into the rear. Farewell, enjoy your fade into bolivian. Give a fist-pound to Quayle. See if he has gotten potatoe worked out.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Crap footie and Halloween

So, we lost the fucking game. Granted, everybody played out of position and we started shorthanded because three lads showed up two minutes after kickoff. But, a ton of shit still had to go wrong. Two light beers and right home...a bunch of cunts we are. We wound up second. I don't necessarily like our match-up, but we'll have the later start.

Anyway, Halloween is coming. We've been blessed for this year and next, as All Hallows Eve will fall on Friday and Saturday, respectively. We'll be hard-pressed to match 2004, when Halloween last fell on a Saturday. The weather cooperated (it was about 60 in NYC that night), so the birds were costumed to their sluttly best. This year, we're looking at an evening in the 40s...long coat weather.

Apparently, Halloween is a week long experience for some. I saw a few cats in costume last night on the subway. For me, it'll the old standby; the (Burger) King. That shit doesn't get old. I can't believe that no one has pulled out a Whopper after laying out a WR...or even simulate it. It'd be totally worth the 15 yards, especially if it were TO or Randy Moss. Since Moss pretty much only runs sideline routes, you could probably have a dude standing on the sideline with an actual Whopper.

I know some birds going, as a tribute to their career "resurrection" (not that I'd know), the Spice Girls. The Posh outfit came with a half-gram.

Captain Morgan will work, too. But, I mean the actual Captain, not the bullshit stunt with the van that those shlubs pull on the TV ad. If a dude needed to match outfits to break the ice with a bird on Halloween, that muthafucka might as well stay home.

But, I'll admit that the plug-socket and bunny-carrot have the requisite sexual overtones. And, if you're weird enough to go as a plug and you actually meet a bird weird enough to go as a socket, you two were indeed made for each other.

Monday, October 27, 2008

HOW Long have I been doing this?

A year- for reasons yet to be discussed, I can't forget the day- and nobody's reading, except for, like, corporate Big Brother n'shit. Other than that, I'm still under the radar...good deal. I'd write more, but I'm busy working, playing footie and drinking. Besides, I'd rather surf for good shit. I pretend to drop some science, but it's mostly talking junk and makng a bunch of bullshit-ass predictions. To celebrate a year of the same old bullshit, Bokolis is going out with his (electronically limited) friends to get shitfaced.

Yeah, right. I'm going to play footie with me mates, then we'll go to the bar for postgame. It's the last game of the regular season and were in first place on goal difference. Even if we lost, we'd be about 50-50 to still finish first. We're playing the last-place team and we have virtually no incentive to win the game. The lads have issues arriving for earlier starts. Finishing second would get us later starts for playoff matches. But, we can't engineer our seeding because we're tonight's early game. All we could do is lose and wait on the next game, which the lads don't want to do...we're a bunch of pissed off muthafuckas when we lose.

All that means that postgame could conceivably start pregame. Unfortunately, regardless, I'll wind up something less than shitfaced.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Gunslinger?

I don't consciously read the New York Times- well I'm semi-conscious while I read, maybe. I usually have to be steered there by (my) Media Assassin (Harry Allen, I gotta ask him...) or Riese. Riese actually sends me to a lot of cool places, but they never let me in.

I typically get stuck surfing and read all types of dumb shit, like this bit of hard news. Brett Favre is suspected of dumping a bodybagged carcass into a teammate's locker, stankin' his shit all up.

Sure, killing some animal for some shits and giggles is a little fucked up. I'm not making any PETA arguments. I'm just saying...if Favre wants to pull a prank, he needs to up the ante to, say, a dead Jersey City hooker or the Jersey Devil. And not that jersey devil.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

..od dammit, maverick

I typically try to ignore people like Sarah Palin, who often cackle, but have nothing to offer. The Obama-lovin' set, who still haven't learned to not react to everything, watch with disgust and comment about her lack of substance. For myself, I had to raise a People's Eyebrow when I heard this bird talking about being a maverick.

I don't even like the Tina Fey spoofs on Palin. Mainly, it's because, unlike typical SNL spoofs, where the actor is a caricature, Fey looks far better as Palin than Palin herself does. I much prefer the Riese and Haviland portrayal, with Haviland caking on the makeup, underscoring that Palin really isn't hot and more effectively capturing Palin's cuntiness.

Come to think of it, the Rock and Obama sound a lot alike. Commence with "If you smell..." "Know your role," "It doesn't matter..." "Lay the smackdown..." and all the other catchphrases out there. It would be pretty funny, though, if Obama were to go into character and land The Rock Bottom on Palin.

This New York Times article offers the sentiments of a member of the Maverick family, from whom the word is derived, or so they claim. Naturally, she's disgusted. I didn't know that there was actually a family name behind the word, but I knew that "maverick" referred to cattle that were unbranded. This heiffer isn't fooling anyone. She's branded...and I'm not talking that Exxon tattoo on her asscheek.

I don't necessarily dislike McCain. I found him much preferrable to Dubya in 2000, when McCain was far closer to the maverick (pretend that maverick, in that case, meant someone with a spine) Palin wishes to portray. Somehow, that image didn't work, as the the soft money went toward Bush and the public soured on McCain in favor of the more congenial idiot. That's saying something about America, see below.

Conversely, this time around, McCain's campaign was dead in the water, D-O-E-N...done. He's the same guy, only 8 years older. The polling and his coffers indicated that only his loyalists supported him. Eventually Huckabee, Romney and the others fell by the wayside, the money rolled in and McCain pulled through.

The question begs to be asked: If you wouldn't choose McCain 8 years ago, why choose him now?
Of course, logic plays no part in that answer. McCain couldn't push through because he wasn't the rollover cunt. My people, I don't know whatthefuck is wrong with my people...we clamor for a strong leader, someone who isn't going to take shit from other countries or, even better, smack them around just for GP. Another part of being a strong leader is standing up to the internal enemies. I don't mean sending the ATF to roust some moonshine bootleggers peddling untaxed hooch. I mean soft money and the political donor class. The internal enemies are at least as important because, when this empire finally crumbles, it will crumble from within.

When presented with that choice, we invariably find the guy to be an asshole. So, we installed Dubya, who, either unable or unwilling to stand up to the apparatus (read: complicit), bungled us into HARCSGO. While we'd like to think we're a nation of asskickers, we're strenuously pushing toward becoming a nation of spineless cunts.

To me, it's apparent that McCain was pushed through by the same apparatus/puppeteer that has its hands shoved up Bush's ass. We've seen that Bush is a PNAC piss boy. Shall we expect more of the same from a McCain administration? Do McCain and Palin have PNAC branded on their asscheeks? Since the apparatus is so firmly installed/entrenched, will McCain even get his hands on the controls? Or, is he still rubbing the mark left by the branding iron?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Playoffs?!

Once again, what's a tournament without some wishy-washy predictions. Qualifier: I'm typing staring at a 4-2 Dodger lead...make that 5-2- Manny is sick. I had shit to do.

Brewers over Phillies in 4 - Besides Fuck the philthies, even though I think they got away with one today, I was willing to give the philthies the first game. Hamels is kind of good, but Sabathia is pitching the next three. Besides, the Brewers bungled away that game. What's that? That's why they're going to lose? Sabathia is only going game two? Fine, scratch that, philthies in 5, then.

Dodgers over Cubs in 3 - Are you kidding me? It's the Cubs. All right, 4 games, no Bartman moment necessary.

White Sox over Rays in 4 - In the Sox, I see a bunch of guys who know how to get it done. The Rays are a crew of greenhorns. I have discounted the Rays so much that, now, they are sure to reach the World Series.

Angels over Red Sox in 4 - Besides Fuck Boston, even though the Red Sox have had the Angels' number, they are not at full strength. I think they go quietly and the Angels get revenge.

Dodgers over Phillies in 5 - Besides Fuck the philthies...all right it's all about Fuck the philthies. I just think the Dodgers are better and are rounding into form.

Angels over White Sox in 6 - Isn't this also a revenge issue here? So, the Angels are settling family business. I think the White Sox will run out of steam.

Dodgers over Angels in 7 - At the critical point, K-Rod's arm, in his attempt to throw a slider, will come unhinged and accompany the ball towards home plate. Manny will hit ball and arm (and whatever else makes it to the plate) out of the yard to seal the deal. Torre gets another ring and Steinbrenner croaks.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Congress 1, Paulson 0?

Some people act as if this were the OJ trial, where they only get one shot at it. They will circle the wagons and keep at it until it passes. But, at least they didn't just roll over.

I'd like to think that Congress, made to pass the Patriot Act without reading it and green lighting the Iraq war after buying the load of horseshit pitched to it, has finally decided to push back.

{opens up locker, puts that next to deed to Brooklyn Bridge} It might just be more posturing.
But, even if unintended,the question to the banks is posed: WTF would y'all do if we didn't hand over the money?

I'm sure that the banks could get out of this mess if they had to...they just don't want have to use their own money to do so. Paulson doesn't have the financial system's needs or the People's needs in mind; he's looking to bail out his homies...with the People putting up the bail.
While I hate to have to hand over (more) money to these crooks, every panic/depression in US history went down because the banks couldn't/wouldn't supply money. Would the banks scuttle the financial system to be spiteful and/or predatory (or in to save their asses)? I'm not sure if we, as a People, have the balls to find out and/or play the game.

Monday, September 29, 2008

And that's that!

I'm not here to rant and blame. Aside from Johan, they're all heartless, spineless cunts. But, I was right about the Mets shutting down the Dump by being eliminated on the last day. It just goes with the way they do things and furthers the Wilpon jinx.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Gangsta!

That's what ya' man Jerry Manuel called Johan's performance. But, all that happened was that the Mets cashed in their Johan chip a game early. It was a big-time gamble bringing him back on short rest, but Johan manned up and was legend.

It brings back into play my original sentiment that the Mets, jagoff organization that it is, will close down Shea by getting eliminated on the last day. The chances are pretty good, with Sabathia going for Milwaukee and Perez going for the Mets.

To put it out there, I would not send Perez out there today because he's on short rest and I do not like to double up the lefties. I would send Brandon Knight- yes, Brandon Knight- out there because I trust him more than Perez to throw 5 innings of one run ball. I think Perez will have far better results on full rest in a Monday game against the Brewers. Even though the Brewers allegedly crush lefties, the Mets swept the Brewers in Milwaukee starting three lefties.

Usually, you don't know what you'll get out of Perez. Some Mets fans- God love them- actually think he's a big game pitcher. With Perez on short rest, it probably means that the bullpen will again have to get 12-15 outs. If they have the balls, they can probably use Petey or Maine to get six of those outs. I don't think you can use both to get 12 because the average result figures to be 3-4 runs. Combine that with the 3-4 that Perez will give up and the Mets will need at least 7 to win. I'd use Petey (it's his side session day) and hope for the best.

I won't even get to see the game. I have grown up shit to do. The Mets had better get out fast. They need to play from ahead.

RIP Paul Newman...legend. Quality of life just downticked. They're not going to stop making that salsa, right?

Friday, September 26, 2008

All right, throw out that last post

Let's try this again.

It's just as well. Once Murphy K/B'ed, I figured that they'd win in spite of themselves. I've never seen a team come back from more brutal losses. I suppose that's why Mets fans have almost violent swings in sentiment.

I don't care what Petey is at this point, and I don't care if Hoffpauir was mashing, lifting him for a mexican league reject is assinine. No matter the result, but I'd have much rather that Hoffpauir beaten Petey.

That was crazy. After holding Delgado the previous night, when he was a good bet to score, they sent Church, knowing that the throw was going to beat him by 30 feet. Even though they might have been putting Church at risk- you can just tell that the dude ain't right-I would have sent him as well. I thought that it was one of those times that you have to say, "Fuck it." It turned out crazy and comical.

So, now we do an almost 180. I still think that they're less than 50/50 to advance. I think the philthies are out of reach and I think Milwaukee will win 2 of 3 against the Cubs. Tonight's game (I think they'll be able to get it in) would seem like the swing game becuase they can expect to win on Sunday, but not tomorrow.

In any case, they will need the fans' support, no matter how bad it looks. These aren't the same schlubs that pissed it away last year. But, they are shaky, easily spooked and need support to get through this. Just don't expect me to chant.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

So, what are the chances?

After all that, I didn't proclaim the Mets as done. I mean, c'mon, after last night's game, do you need further evidence? All right, all right. Nonetheless. with four games left, I wanted to (by the numbers) assess the chances.

Note that it was 3-3 when I hit "New Post." It was 6-3 by the time I finished the first sentence. Hoffpauir's HR didn't land until after the second sentence.

The four starters are Petey, Pelfrey v Volstad, TBA v Nolasco and Johan v Olson. You can't realistically hope for better than 2-2. The division is out of the question because the philthies are not going 1-3 at home against the Nationals.

I suppose 2-2 could earn a tie with Milwaukee. It would kind of bring everything full circle...needing a win on Sunday against the Marlins, with Johan earning his keep by coming through where Glavine could not.


Having sat through this, do you really think they can win two games?

Dump-du-dum-dump

I wanted to drop a "D-O-E-N...done!" but I'm not quite ready and it's not so simple.

Right as I'm gathering up to leave the day job, I get caught up in a corporate fire drill. Bad karma for posting on the company dime? Somebody decides at 6:10 that they needed something that night. Luckily, I had semi-planned for that eventuality and it was only a matter of dressing it up all nice. I would up looking like a star to the bosses. As I always tell the children, learn to anticipate and you'll never have to react.

I roll up in the top of the second, right after DeRosa's HR. We have those box seats in right field where the seats are tilted towards the plate. Face value was $44. If you're inclined to pay for tickets, for the dump, it's actually not bad. The company was two Mets fans, one rabid, one moderate, a Yankees fan respectful of his surroundings and me (passive Mets supporter). By the middle of the third, it's apparent that this game is going to take all.fucking.night. Both Oliver Perez and Carlos Zambrano must have gone to the John Franco school of pitching, as neither of them would throw strikes.

The most comical moment, other than the right field ball boy throwing like he had a dildo lodged in his rectum, was Jose Reyes prancing down the third base line. With the Delgado shift employed, the third baseman was playing 50 feet from the bag. Reyes was like the class clown and Zambrano the substitute teacher. At one point, Reyes was closer to home than third. I half-expected Zambrano to bean Reyes. But, everything was fucking with Zambrano. He alternately looked coked-out and cracked-up. Eventually, he served up a grand slam to Delgado.

Aside - Delgado is not the MVP; Pujols is. You're not the MVP when two other guys on your team have 110 RBI and you certainly are not the MVP if you dog the first 2-1/2 months because you don't like the manager. Besides, if we're going to give out MVPs for partial year tears, then Manny would get it.

I had to remind a few giddy fucks that the bullpen was going to have to get 15 outs. I was close, as Perez lasted 1/3 inning longer than I predicted. I also said, about the time Sanchez was escaping the 5th inning, that the Mets would need 12 runs to win the game. Turns out that 10 would have done it and the bullpen actually got 16 outs reasonably comfortably, when it needed 17...close enough, right?We weren't sticking around for that shit. It cooled considerably and the snail's pace made it all the worse.

In the top 7th, with the score tied, the issue came up as to how long we were going to stay. They all hemmed and hawed, so I broke it down in terms of whether we were going to commit to this game, however long it ran, because I was sure that the two Mets fans would not want to leave if this was tied going to 9th. That swayed them all and we broke out. The Yankees fan suggested that I take a good look, for it was the last time I'd ever be in there. I didn't bat an eye. My response was that the only fitting sendoff for this dump was for me to take a dump on it.

It was still too early to go home, so I went to the local bar. Apparently, after the Cubs took the lead, the Mets blew a 1st and 3rd, no out chance in the seventh. Reyes, not bothering to steal second with a man on third on any of the four previous pitches, was doubled off on a screamer by Daniel Murphy. Here comes the fucking rant...

...and everyone wonders why they lose ball games.

Since it is largely a series of one-on-one matchups, baseball lends itself to quantification. Like accounting, we can assign a value to every event. Routine ground outs are all the same, we're led to think. So, there is nothing to distinguish Ryan Church's 6-3 ground out in the bottom 4th from Zambrano's 4-3 in the top of the 5th. Nowhere will it note that Church, apparently having a bout of post-concussion syndrome, downshifted half way to first, while Zambrano, fat bastard though he might be, barreled towards the bag as if someone left a plate of paella on it.

Similarly, Reyes' reticence will not be noted. Neither will Delgado not scoring from second on Beltran's single in the 8th. Neither Delgado nor the coach that held him understood circumstances; that the opposition's priority- with the state of the Mets bullpen in mind- was to keep the go-ahead run off second. According to the progression of the inning- Jeff Samardzija, fresh out of Franco's school, walked in Delgado- this didn't tangibly effect matters.

Wright's strikeout in the ninth will just look like a strikeout. After Murphy, savage baseball player, worked Howry and legged out a leadoff triple, Wright took 3 balls, only to strike out on ball four, up and away. It was odd, as Wright laid off three high balls, as he typically does. This allowed the Cubs to walk both Delgado and Beltran to get to the soft part of the order. Church, suddenly unreliable, forced Murphy at the plate and Castro, who makes Zambrano look fit, gave away his at bat.


In our daily grind, we have a general obligation to bang out our work. Sometimes we're on the clock but, for the most part, we plug along and we work a little harder than necessary to keep our jobs. That probably explains our lot in life. As explained above, baseball is a series of one-on-one matchups. A field player, not being involved in most of those matchups, is called into action about 12-15 times per game. You figure that it's about 10 minutes of the game, or about 5 or 6 percent of his work day. Again, like the rest of us, that's plenty of time to stand around and scratch his nuts, fart or whatever. He can't fuck off on the Internet, so we have that on him.

Anyway, I'll break that down further and say that a baseball player is given, maybe, 5-6 chances to shine during any given ball game. 4 or 5 of those chances are going to be his at bats and it's probably 4-5 times more than the rest of us will have to shine in any given work day. When I'm given a chance to shine- and most of the time, I have to determine it for myself and seize the moment- I go full bore to leave no doubt to my bosses' minds that I got this shit and I'm holdin' it down like a fat kid on a seesaw.

You can derive your score or results, in sports or any other work, from the sum of all the good plays you make. It would seem relatively simple, but it's hard for most to apply this and even harder to apply to baseball and its focus on one-on-one matchups. There is often no tangible incentive to give it the "ol' college try." The embarrassment of being caught taking off plays or giving up a base is not enough, because those things are seldom quantified. Everybody wants to make the big play, score the goal, touchdown.

In my view, the good plays that you make- and the attitude necessary to want to make them- put you in better position and give you more opportunities to make big plays. If you're on code yellow in a code red world, as the Mets have been for about 225 games, chances are that, when it comes time to seize those increasingly rare moments, you'll seize up.

Stretching Ayala to a second inning was asking for it. He got the bullpen's 15th and 16th outs easily enough, but his undoing must symbolize the larger Mets demise...single, stolen base, excuse-me double down the line. I bet some dude, who was rooting against the Mets, a beer that a home run was to follow. Hey, the fucker paid up.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Night at the Dump

Scored some free tickets to the Dump*, so I'll be on hand to determine whether the Mets can maintain their tenuous grasp on the NL wild card spot. Last year, I went to the 5th to last game. When I walked in, some broad screamed, "Oh my goodness gracious, Bokolis is in {redacted} box!" About the 7th inning, I declared the Mets, still a game and a half up after that loss, dead. My hosts weren't too happy.


This time around, I'll be amongst the commonfolk...I'll try and hold my nose. With the exception of a rare $5 upper-decker night (and I sneak down to the blue seats), I refuse to pay to go to the Dump. I've got beef with the Mets going back to the Sun Ray.

I have no sentimental feelings for the Dump. I'd pay good money to push the (implosion) button on the Dump, but it's against city regulations. Swinging the wrecking ball would get rather tedious. Can I at least blow up that apple?

I would love to poke fun at that hokey lovefest for the dump in the Bronx (they can call it a cathedral if they like, but it's still a dump), but I'm quite confident that the Wilpon's hokieness will trump the Yankee hokiness.

We'll see how it goes. It would make perfect sense that the Mets would get eliminated on Sunday, just like they did last year, closing down the Dump for good.


* - Now that the Big O, the Vet and RFK are either gone or in disuse, Shea gets the title of biggest dump in MLB. It doesn't help that Shea is located next to the junkyards.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Everybody gets it, the whole crew

You know shit is getting bad...in telling us to stay tuned to its "coverage" of the breakdown of our financial system, CNBC is playing actionmoviejingle. FishLips looks beaten. Dubya got this morning on and looked geuinely pissed. Either he's sore that they've made his brother look like a piker, or he must not like it when he can't crack jokes. I want to believe that he just wants to get the hell out of there.

With the this credit crisis ratcheted up another level, the government has stepped in to save AIG. It deemed that Lehman was not worth saving. This is all- I think- unprecedented in US history, where the government, through the FED, which it funded through T-Bills, has taken a position in a company. Surely, there's more to follow.

Is this a landmark point of the corporate state, a furthering of corporatism, or, perhaps more properly, corporatocracy...probably worth considering, but another game for another day.

Regardless, comparable level of government market intervention must have occurred during the Panic of 1907. Even then, it took J.P. Morgan to rally the banks to pull off the move the FED is now attempting. This time around, the banks don't appear so healthy. They own these non-performing assests
  • directly
  • in securitized form, through their brokerage/investment banking units
  • exposed, via credit default swaps, through their insurance/inverstment banking units.
It's the credit default swaps that must be protected. Its holders are, in theory, responsible for making good on those non-performing assets. Apparently, there's about $60 trillion of these instruments out there, easily enough to derail the world's financial system. The possibility of such a meltdown came into play in 2002, where the Dow tanked to 7286 (lowest point was 7181). Back then, the banks had money, so it wasn't as much of an issue. As we're seeing, this time, it's going to take a little more finagling.

Somewhere along the line, maybe two or three days into my career, I- someone who only pretends to be smart- learned to never (all caps emphasis wouldn't do it justice, so imagine Yosemite Sam yelling "never") chase yield. I guess those in charge of this Ponzi scheme are too smart for their own good.

Both the causes and effects of the failures here are systemic. A la China, the citizens (taxpayers) have been told to sit down and shut up at every step, starting with the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (didn't take that long for them to fuck up shit, did it?).

Of course, in China, whenever someone exhibits such (criminal, in my view) negligence, they usually get executed. These muthafuckas would be getting off lightly.

However, I favor capitalism over government intervention. My suggestion: Put the prosepect of a 30 or 40 year prison term in front of those deemed responsible, put out the Ken Lay poison pill punch bowl and let the market take its course.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Football it's not

Normally, I put on the Jets games so I can get some sleep on a Sunday. As I've pointed out, that shit works better than Ambien. Yesterday, that went out the window. Because I was out chasing ass until 6 in the morning, I woke up about 10 minutes before gametime and I'm stuck watching rugby for fairies. I don't understand why the rest of America insists on calling it "football." Yesterdays Jets-Dolphins game furthers the point.

At some point, Ted? Nugent, the Jets' placekicker, had gotten hurt...don't ask me how, I wasn't yet coherent and I was probably watching the Eagles. So, the Jets have to go for it on 4th and 12 from just outside the 20. No big deal, Mangini can just tell everybody that, now that he's got the gunslinger, 4th and 12 ain't shit. Favre, in the face of pressure, optimistically (and correctly, given the situation) throws it up for grabs as he's hit. The ball finds a wide open Jets receiver for a touchdown.

J-E-T-S JETS...JEtsss...what the? They're going for two?

In another context, I would applaud the move. The Dolphins were probably still scratching their heads at that touchdown; why not try to steal a point? Of course, the corporate philosopy doesn't allow for such risks. They had to go for two because no one on the team could kick the pigskin 20 yards through the uprights.

Insane. Surely, the punter can do it. Well, the punter kicked off...he looked like a black guy kicking.

Aside- yes, I'm sure that, these days, there are plenty of black people that can kick a football. I grew up in the hood. There were 1000 black guys in the projects, but none of these muthafuckas could kick a football. I had to kick the ball for them. Before 17, that's probably the main thing that spared me harrassment and ass-whuppins...after 17, none of them could whup my ass, so they became much more conciliatory.

At some point, they showed Kellen Clemens (that's not one of Roger Clemens' kids? WTF is he doing with a first name that starts with K? Gotta be a bastard son or someting) on the sideline, in regular football shoes, trying to kick the pigskin, with a hobbled Nugent trying to give pointers. Why embellish, it can't get any funnier.

It's one thing to pass up a 40-yard field goal. I've kicked 40 yarders; it's not easy, especially in a game. But, you would think that a 20 yarder should be no issue because it's harder to miss from that close. I'm reminded of when John Madden- back in his somewhat more coherent CBS days- said that two things that everyone thinks they can do is play tennis and kick field goals.

(pregnant pause) All right, maybe not so coherent.

Regardless, how can someone be around a pigskin as much as these players and not know how to kick it? How can people insist on calling this game "football" when no one knows how to kick the ball?

I fell asleep at some point (works like a charm) and woke up for the final drive. The commentators were playing up the kicking snafu as the fish, down six with a healthy kicker, were driving towards a game winning touchdown. The Jets held and Benigno was talked off the ledge. Just as well.

Oil is Slick

I'll address this because I get way too many people whining to me about gas prices. As most people are ignorant, people who make believe that nothing is wrong until they're crying (crying on me), suffering them is painful and thankless. People ask the Arab gas station attendants to give them direction on gas prices, as if the dude's uncle sits on the OPEC board or something. It's more likely that the dude's cousin was the one of the people in the previous post. Having taken advice from an uneducated slug, they offer this "insight" to anyone who will listen.


I saw this shit coming from before the stench left Ground Zero. I was mentally prepared; $4.50/gal. gas didn't faze me. At this point, $3.50/gal. (Jersey) is like a treat. I'll start to gripe when it hits $6.50/gal.

Quite simply, as "cheap" (light sweet) crude will become less readily available, the price will have to move towards the market price of the next plentiful oil stash, which is the sandy stuff up in Canada and Chavez' sludge. I don't know what that price is (I'm going to guess $125/bbl.), but, even though we're not yet at that point, it was quickly factored into the market price (and then some).

Just like the late '90s stock market, which factored 30 years of growth into about two, there was going to be some pullback. When Crude was up in the $140s, my (electronically limited) friends, who didn't believe me 5(+) years when I told them this was coming, now tell me I was absolutely right. Even they understood that $140s Crude was unsustainable (at that point), so they optimistically prodded me, in the hopes that I would tell them that the price would go back to $60 and stay there. My response was that, at every stage of this 7 year rise, the price has dipped to a collection point, gathering momentum for the next push. Even if the price were to drop to $90 (I picked 90 because it seemed just outside the realm of probablility), it wouldn't stay there for very long.

As Crude action "settles" down, its price will become a function of the expectation of the timeframe for the migration from Saudi light to Canadian tar and Chavez sludge.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

HOW CAN SHE SLAP?!

Don't ask me the premise. See chic slap...see chic get slapped back even harder...see dude turn into a bitch when accosted by host/douche. I guess it was unscripted. Ya' think the host may be banging this chic on the side?






Nonetheless, it was a pretty impressive slap. Here's what led up to it. Apparently, you can swear in English with impunity on Indian television. Even better, I say. This provides enough inappropriate ethnic humor to last months, easily.






I say the broad had it coming. Like Charlie Murphy said, first of all, you don't slap a man. I would have come on and talked some shit about keepin' your pimp hand strong. I'd like to tell you that a bitch is fair game once she raises her hand. But, you can't make the argument on justification because this dude turned into a sniveling little bitch. He sat there whining and crying as the douche lumped him up. It all just reinforces some people's contention that only cowards hit women. Then again, if someone would have cracked the broad from The Weakest Link, an OBE or Medal of Honor would have been in order. Still, I took a small measure of satisfaction from seeing this one humbled for a hot minute.

That said, no one should take seriously anything on television. All of television is professional wrestling. As such, when someone prostitutes themselves- literally or figuratively- for the camera, everything is in play...including getting the taste slapped outcho' mouf. Check out the remix.




The post-mortem here.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Gimme a c...












Via The Spoiler. I was in tears trying to hold back from busting out in laughter at the office. It turned into agony becuase I couldn't wait to get off the corporate network so I could pass this along to some of my (electronically-limited) friends.


The Bleacher Creatures never did that...and they probably can't, now that they've got half the NYPD fun-policing Section 39.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Take this to the FED

Remember when I told y'all about how Congress is cooking up some credit card reform...and I didn't point y'all in the right direction? I've made it better. Thanks to some bird named Liz Pulliam Weston, we've now got some direction. She says that y'all got until August 4th, to make yourselves heard at the Fed, which will possibly recommend (and kind of impose not so sharp-toothed) regulation on the banks. I plagiarized the shit out of her specific suggestions, though not her thoughts/analysis, and (anonymously) fired off some lame-ass shit. I've so graciously posted it here. It says that over 19,000 submissions have been sent. Get on it.

Having made so many unwise loans and even more unwise investment portfolio decisions, the banks are in a position where they need cash. It is fully understandible that banks must be well-capitalized, for, quite simplified, if banks don't have money, nobody has money.

But, their unwise decisions (any savvy participant in securities market would know to never chase yield), should not be borne by the backs of the people, who, as it is, will surely have to fund a taxpayer bailout/subsidy. Banks with credit card divisions should not be given carte blanche to scalp credit card accountholders just because, as we are the lowest on the credit food chain, we are an easy mark.

Capitalism- where banks can take advantage of inefficiencies and people's own ignorance- is one thing; a corporate bordello- where banks are allowed to make all the rules, tilting the playing field to their advantage- is another.

Corporations (and related entities) already have more rights than people. The MBNA-supported (since swallowed up by Bank of America) bankrupcy law is one example, where corporations have a greater legal right to declare bankrupcy than citizens.

Another example is that banks can "export" interest rates across states more easily than people can (legally) transport guns across state lines.

Finally, the credit card companies have the right to alter your credit card agreement at any time and for any reason. Nominally, we have no negotiating rights; any attempt to alter those terms, it typically states, would result in cancellation of the account agreement (read: they will close your account faster than they can wipe their asses with the paper on which you wrote your "amendments.").

In practice, of course, we do have negotiating powers (not rights), subject to our leverage and credit scores. Unless one has a credit score- which has dubious underlying logic and serious underlying reporting issues- of 760 or above, one is fighting uphill.

Among the practices that should be banned is retroactive re-pricing, or jacking up the rate on an existing credit card balance, for any reason other than the customer paying late. This would be on a par with welching.

On the subject of late payments, we must eliminate arbitrary due times, which make a payment late if it arrives on the due date but does so after, say, 1 p.m. Central time. How can this effectively be proven or dis-proven? The mail comes post-marked, but not time-stamped.

Eliminate double-cycle billing, which essentially charges two months' interest on a balance carried only one month.

Unfair payment allocation, in which the issuer applies your monthly payment only to your lowest-rate balance (typically a balance transfer), so that your higher-rate balances- typically purchases and cash advances- continue to accrue interest. No one of sound mind would agree to such an allocation, so banks should not have the right to impose such terms.

Bait-and-switch offers, in which one interest rate is heavily advertised but applicants wind up with another, much higher one. Banks know- through "soft" inquiries"- the approximate credit rating of each person to whom they make an offer. So, especially given all the impositions they make upon the cardholders, if a cardholder is going to be subjected to a "hard" credit inquiry, the banks should have to make a firm offer beforehand.

Ban the charging overdraft fees based on holds. Certain merchants (gas stations, hotels, car rental outfits) are notorious for placing big holds on your checking account when you use a debit card. These holds are typically for far more than you actually spend and may not be released for hours or even days after the transactions, yet some banks count these holds as actual transactions and charge fees as if you'd actually overdrawn your account. The consumer (though the parent company of the bank may own such merchants) certainly has no control over the amount of a hold and these holds are not subject to any binding regulation, industry standard or even custom and usage. The only person at risk here, through no action of our own, is the consumer.

Along those lines, ban mandatory bounce protection, or "courtesy overdraft" coverage, that can't be turned off, which means overdraft transactions automatically get approved and rack up big fees, hardly a courtesy. It's one thing for consumers to knowingly exceed their limits and it's not the government's responsibility- though it will do so for the banks- to save one from one's own unwise spending habits. But, such an option- and, indeed, notice- should be presented to the consumer before the actual transaction and resulting imposition of fees. Unbeknownst to the consumer, there may be an exorbitant hold, as explained above, placed on the account by a merchant. More generally, the consumer should be instantly armed with any information about the account that the issuer already knows.

Imagine, for a hot minute, that The People had the right to tell the card company that sending unnecessary materials (like when they send offers to buy pens with your statement), literature or other items (and The People have the right to determine that qualifies as unnecessary and an item) gives a cardholder the right to impose up to a $50 handling fee (for each item) on the banks, payable by a reduction in the account balance (at the cardholder's option, of course). Though this is not nearly as unfair as the terms imposed by the card companies, this would have the executives at the credit card companies (and their lobbyists) up in arms.

For once, they would know how the consumer feels.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Time to pick on GenY

So...today, at work, a VP came fuckin' with me and this other cat because, about 8 months back, we had given him rather cogent, yet different, takes on how shit (stock market, economy) was going to go down. It was time for an update. So, we dropped some science on him. I eased off some consumer credit analysis because, as I stated, I didn't want to go off on some tangent about GenY and it's unwillingness to experience/deal with inconvenience and discomfort. After the VP was sated, I went off on that tangent. We had a sidebar about the GenYers...it went like this- I address my colleague's question- only without the salty language, bad grammar and attempts at humor.

--Does Gen X, as well as the boomers, know how to dial back on perceived entitlement to our current ‘quality of life?’ Or did that humility skip 2-3 generations?

Back about 10 - 15 years ago, the issue the world had with GenXers* is that we- I say "we" because I consider myself a charter member- weren't about anything and that, as a group, we were sullen, cynical and rather nihilistic...what's wrong with that?

Of course, the older generations- boomers and, to a lesser extent, the "greatest"- couldn't "get" us because they did not understand any world view but their own, which we rejected early on because it is too willing to go along ("...that was good enough for me") with the bullshit they were fed (by gov't, media, etc.) and/or doesn't acknowledge that it's bullshit, bullshit.

Rather than engage or enlighten them, we were waiting for them to get out of the way, biding our time (some of us popping E like sweettarts or going into K holes^...hey, the old farts were flaming us for being sullen) until we would get our hands on the controls. In our day-to-day lives, we have more balls, are more willing to tear down and start over and we are less willing to take anything as given. I think that leaves us well equipped to handle our business, get down for the crown, etc.

To bastardize Carl Jung, the foundation of all mental illness is the unwillingness to experience pain or legitimate suffering or discomfort. GenYers typically have far less capacity for discomfort. They complain about everything and wear their emotions on their collective sleeve. Having grown up in the age of convenience- a time when MTV didn't show music videos- they have far less in the way operational capacities; things are supposed to just happen for them...probably from mouse clicks.

I'd like to take the more enlightened view that this is just another case of the older generation bemoaning that the younger one is comprised of a bunch of pansies. But, from being around enough of them, they don't seem to be about anything...but their own comfort, which they think is their birthright.

As an example, consider the opposition to the war...or, as it's known around here, Haliburton And Related Contractors Security Guard Operation (HARCSGO). If someone is against the war because of conscience, or because they don't wish for their tax $$ to be spend on improving some firm's ROI (return on investment), I get it. I can even understand if someone is thinks the war is unjust (like that's ever a consideration). But the overwhelming impression I'm getting is that the Obama-lovin' GenYers don't want war is because they don't want to upset their own apple cart existence...based on all this, it appears that they are scared to engage.

Aside - The blood-for-oil argument doesn't fly with me because, if we weren't in there holdin' it down, China and/or Russia and/or another Arab bully would be in there. So, while it's fucked up, that's what it is...and what it is is what it is. I'd be saying the same shit if I were over there. As Biggie explained, real niggas do real things.

What's left of the "greatest" can cut back because they lived the Depression. The boomers had those experiences drilled into them and never had the luxury of a rapidly appreciating real estate / investment portfolio. Even though we (GenX) have our share of space cadets, I have a reasonable amount of faith in my generation not to fuck shit up. The GenYers...there are so many hot chics and the girls are tougher than the guys. Let's see if these little muthafuckas ever grow up.

* - I speak from big city experiences with GenYers. I couldn't tell you what Davenport, IA is thinking. These kids have crystal meth, I hear that shit'll do some work on you. Don't nobody smoke no weed no more?!
^ - Bokolis categorically denies any illicit drug use

Monday, July 14, 2008

Tony Snowed Under

I didn't give this too much thought until I went on Lozo and saw WTF is going on.

For those of you incapable of critical thought, all war is based on deception. Aside- If you believe that our leadership got duped into all this shit (in other words, everybody, as it was portrayed, totally fell for it) over shaky intelligence...(shrugging shoulders and making bemused facial expression) I don't know what to tell you, homie. Maybe you can answer why we'd still be there, once we found our intelligence to be faulty. Give or take a few minutes, the deception, where it concerns the military operation in question, started about 11AM EDT on 9/11/01. You can infer some shit about what was going on before that, but that's not the mission here.

I'm pissed because we fund this war…or, more aptly put, operation where our soldiers function as security guards for Haliburton and related contractors. If you factor in the ripple effects on the economy and on the funding states and local municipalities receive from the federal government, easily, half my money goes towards this shit, with no return on investment. That's worse than the YTD return on my 401k, but only because my employer kicks in half of what I dump in. With all that money we have to kick in, surely, we could have gotten some cats to dig a hole from Queens to New Jersey. Even if they dug this hole, it would probably help get some traffic out the way. I digress and a dead man is waiting.

Since Tony Snow took his turn as pitchman to America, he is a piece of shit on the level- and infinitely larger in scale- of an used car salesman. He sold out himself and, in the process, a whole nation. Every bit the POS are the corporate media, conservatives, liberals, whatever, who knew he was pitching bullshit (if I could tell from the cheap seats, they knew) and didn’t call him on it. I feel slightly less disgust for people like myself, who knew we were getting bull-shitted, yet didn’t make a (material) difference.

I fly under the radar, so I have to live with that shit. See above, my purgatory is that I fund this. Hey, I told who I could. It didn’t register when I told muthafuckas that we were never going to catch bin Laden (my office- prior gig- started a pool when we went back to work...lest you think I'm any better than those scumbags, I didn't partake only because "never" was not an available option) because he's our excuse to be there...or that Saddam was incapable- hold on, Tony- of building or obtaining a fart bomb because any Iraqi with half a brain is either dead or in exile…pretty much the same reason that Saddam was even in power.

Snow apparently acquired a taste for bull-shitting, as he took an on-air gig at FOX. At least Colin Powell- trumping Snow in the ESPN/USA Today POS Pitchman rankings- had an attack of conscience and disappeared into private life after pitching the bullshit.

I feel bad for Tony Snow’s family, who liklely didn’t view him as a POS and have to trudge on without him. I don't want to make it seem as if he's solely to blame for the "war." But, with his passing, the quality of life on planet Earth upticked, if ever so slightly...as Ice Cube observed in Higher Learning, they still won, it's just one ass whuppin'. Suavè, homes.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Kings of Europe

GER 0 - 1 ESP - After giving it over a week to marinate and getting friends' feedback (yes, Bokolis has real-life friends, though, like the top speed on your basic Chevy Monte Carlo, that number is electronically limited), for all the quality football, we saw a rather drab final.

We were shortchanged in that we should have seen a 3 - nil Spain victory. But, Spain were not able to finish chances. If we were going to settle for 1 - nil, some drama, like Spain clearing off the back line or some rattling of the woodwork, was necessary. Instead, Germany could not get anything going on offense.

Further, the goal wasn't typical Spanish brilliance. Simply, it was Torres outpacing and out muscling a de-puckered Lahm and beating Lehmann with a flick. Perhaps it is fitting that making something out of very little is what separated Spain in this tournament, with David Villa's late magic against Sweden being the first instance. Football may be 90% running, but knockout tournament football is about fight and character. Unlike 2004 (and numerous other disappointments), Spain had both.

After all that, I heard gripes about Torres only scoring two goals for the entire tournament, none of them especially pretty (like Villa's goals). The simple retort is that his goals- and how he scored them- was what they needed out of him. In the past, if Spain's pretty style didn't net them goals, they would get frustrated and shut down. This added dimension to Spain's game- and resulting production- eliminated the thought (and resulting pressure/neurosis/paranoia) of losing and, ultimately, is what separated them from the rest.

Unless video surfaces of Poof-naldo taking a strap-on from some broad, this closes the discussion about football and footballers for the time being. I suppose boozin' and poon-tang- blogging about it, anyway- will have to suffice.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Spain Shall Reign at the Final

ESP 3 - 0 RUS - Content to let the dreary first half play out, Spain outclassed the Russians in the second half with a brilliant display of football. The fact that Spain can play (and has played and won) bogged down football, yet can still find ways to display their flair, indicates that they are ready to claim the throne. On that note...

GER - ESP - While you can never count out the Germans, this is Spain's championship to claim. Even without Villa (and with Ballack on the pitch, however hampered he may turn out to be), Spain should be able to carve up the German defenders even worse than the Turks. This is set up for the Spaniards to win. We shall see shortly.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Über Alles

GER 3 - 2 TUR - Über the Turks, anyway. Ironically, the Turks go down when they took the game, to say the least, to the Germans. The Germans, apparently looking to manage the match rather than play it, spent the first part of the match on their heels. As was speculated in a previous post, the Turks literally stumbled into a goal. The Germans then put their foot on the pedal and quickly equalized. Nobody can pull back a game like the Germans.

The second half brought more fireworks, figuratively and, possibly, literally. Unfortunately, the world didn't get to see it live because the feed kept going out. It was spun as a bolt of lightning...three bolts apparently, that's why the feed went out three times, right? The most entertaining part of that was when the worldwide leader was fumbling around, trying to disguise that it does not have commentators on-site...because that's how a worldwide leader would roll.

Anyway, a pair of goalkeeper mistakes led to clinical finishes by each side, with the Turks pulling back the German advantage. Finally, Lahm, who had been carved up all match on defense, hammered home on the end of a beautiful combination. Thus, the Turks are vanquished, but it took some doing to finally bury them.

This can't bode well for Germany in the final. Except for a free kick strike, Ballack has been nowhere. Say what you will about the Turks' spirit but, if they can carve up the Germans as they did (with half a team), what will Spain (or Russia) do to them?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Semifinals

So, we've reached the semis. Once again, my wishy-washy predictions are there for all who care to see. The teams I want to win are bolded.

GER - TUR - The Turks will have six more missing through injury or suspension. Discounting their guts, once again, I will pick against them. While Turkey have pulled out matches from their asses (careful) against the Swiss, Czechs and Croatians, I can't believe that, even though this German team is nothing special, that Turkey will be able to take out a top-level nation. Nothing indicates that Turkey can hold the Germans to less than one goal. With anyone capable of creating sidelined, there's no way the Turks can stumble into two goals. I find it hard to believe that they'll even score one.

RUS - ESP - Since Spain beat Russia 4 - 1 in the first round, Russia have this in the bag. You have to think that the Russians are far more motivated this time. Still, a lot more has to go right for the Russians and wrong for the Spaniards to turn around that result. This is possible because, despite having top shelf talent, Spain have always met with disappointment.

Russia can match Spain's pace, but will have to take away the Spaniards' spirit to win this match. More importantly, the Russians will have to, as Andy Gray (long a Bokolis favorite) would say, take (finish) their chances...because I just can't see Russia holding Spain to one goal. A five-goal shootout, with the Spaniards getting the odd goal, must be the most popular result, setting up the preferred (by the burocrats) final. But, don't underestimate Guus.

The More Things Change...

So, the Mets haven't exactly sprung to life after firing Willie. Jerry Manuel claims to be gangsta. Did he do the Crip Walk when he pulled Reyes from that game against the Angels? Do they call it the Crip Walk in the OC?

The way it went down is typical of how mickey mouse that organization is. I worked for them for a hot minute way back when (RIP Jim Plummer, he was a something more than good man), so I can say shit like Tiger my cousin. Ever since Wilpon started having a say, they've fucked up left and right.
  • Go back to the first move with Wilpon's stamp, trading Kevin Mitchell (because of perceived bad influences on the coked-out Gooden and Strawberry) and Dykstra (due to his fast-living), only to pick up a couple of douches like Bonilla and Vince Coleman a few years later
  • subsequently letting the team go to shit, to the point where greasing the usher with a 20 would get me and 3 of my homeboys seats in the wives section...the team was so bad, the wives didn't show
  • alienating Rickey (Rickey is Bokolis' favorite player, so you can't say shit about him to me) over a million (or so) dollars and trading Melvin Mora for Mike Bordick (I know Rey Whore-donez was hurt, but Bordick didn't want to be here) ruined that 2000 team (even though they made it to the Series, they never had a chance),
  • R. Alomar (I can't forget Alomar and Cedeno fighting in the dugout over who was better looking),
  • Burnitz (even though he gave full effort, they didn't learn from his first go-around that Shea was almost as harsh to him as it was to Bobby Murcer),
  • Mo (Cheeseburger) Vaughn, resulting in the paralyzing neurosis that prevented them from signing Vlad (Vlad spent six years auditioning for the Mets, he would have sucked someone's dick to play here if he had to), then signing Beltran for double the price.
  • Trading Kazmir for Victor Zambrano.
  • Jeff "I got this" Wilpon pulling rank to sign Kaz (torn asshole) Matsui.
  • Signing Reyes to a shit deal (Castillo makes about the same) and thinking they got over.
Since Wilpon has had a say (and up until Reyes and Wright), the best homegrown player had been Edgardo Alfonzo...that's over a ~20-year span...that's as damning as it gets. The Mets will never win while this douche is around. Now that he's built his ballpark, we figure to be stuck with him for at least the next 15 years.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Quarterfinal Round-up

We get two dark horses for the price of one. Turkey and Russia each knock out teams that sailed through unscathed to match up, respectively, with traditional powers Germany and Spain.

POR 2 - 3 GER - As was expected, Poof-naldo, showing the heart of his predecessors, was nowhere to be found in the big match. He is a victim of his talent, immaturity and the EPL, none of which have prepared him for knockout tournament football. He found out that he can't simply run around the flanks against motivated opposition. Moreover, he was scared to mix it up with Germans bigger than he.

For all the pretty running the Portuguese do, it was the German attackers' pace that proved more potent. The Portuguese had no natural striker, which has yet again, come back to bite them in the ass...although Poof-naldo likes that shit.

HRV 1 - 1 TUR (Turkey advance 3 - 1 on penalties) - Can't fault the Turks' guts, but Croatia lost this game as much as the Turks won it. Hitting the bar from 4 yards, something only Andy Cole can appreciate, seemed to take the starch out of them. They stopped running and their attack bogged down as their passing became less fluid. Though hardly looking threatening, the Turks once again showed their mettle.

Nonetheless, the Croats seemed to have things locked up when they scored in the final minute of extra time. The Turks found magic from the proverbial last-gasp effort, when their striker, with his off foot, shot between two converging defenders and into the top left corner. He couldn't do that again if you left him out there for three days...but he doesn't have to, does he?

I was told that Croatians don't miss penalties, but they had nothing left for the shootout.

NED 1 - 3 RUS (a.e.t) - I didn't see the game, as I was busy securing a 2 - 0 victory of my own. I'm told that, just as I explained, the motivated Russians matched the Dutch pace and had the lion's share of the chances. While they seemed the strongest side, I've never been keen on the Dutch. Robben and Robin are overrated and I have no respect for Van Nistelrooy. Once you get past that, what is there, besides an ordinary squad with a (still) top-flight keeper?

ESP 0 - 0 ITA (Spain advance 4 - 2 on penalties - Again, Spain have shown marginally more toughness that I'm used to seeing. Italy's defense was stronger than it had been, but it came at the expense of attack. Perversely, that's how the Italians like it. They would rather lose like this than win 3 - 2. So, the Italians can go home with no gripes. The only issue I would have is that, if they were going to bring on Del Piero (whether he should have been playing, given his age and that he doesn't like to take penalites, is another argument), they should not have waitied until the 2nd half of extra time.

Generally, the only real issue I have is that so many of these games are coming down to PKs. I don't have a problem with the PKs per se, but it didn't happen as often before 1990, so it was a novelty. As tactics have become more corporate and playing styles have converged, it seems that, all too often, 90 minutes aren't enough to settle matters. If we're going to have half of these matches settled at the spot, let's just go to golden goal. Leave them out there as long as it takes and, once we get to extra time, lift the cap on subs and let substitued players back on the pitch. I'm never going to remember any of these PK shootouts like I remember Bierhoff in '96 and Dellas in '04.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Day 3 and The Quarterfinals

Well, we saw the Turks come back from the brink. Guts turned out to be enough, after all. The Swedes collapsed as the Russians found their motivation. The Italians slide through, as dogs France proved what garbage they are. The Greeks had the tournament they should have had the last go around. Nobody that left did anything to make you wish they would have stayed. The Spaniards look the prettiest, the Portuguese the poof-iest and Dutch look the frontrunners, but the Croatians have a chance to steal the show.

Predictions...5 minutes into POR - GER (as I type, not as I post)...all right, they're veiled, wishy-washy predictions. The bold are who I want to win.

POR - GER - Can Portugal's talent overcome an ordinary German side and their own lack of heart? I don't know, but I've never trusted Portugal in knockout tournament football.

HRV - TUR - Guts can only take you so far. With half the regular squad unavailable, the Turks look to have reached the terminal.

NED - RUS - A motivated Russia take a back seat to no one. The Russians have no qualms about running with the Dutch. Still, there must be too much Dutch firepower.

SPA - ITA - Spain look marginally tougher than I remember them. I'm not sure if Spain's opposition have served to properly test them in advance of Italy. That said, without Cannavaro, the Italian defense is not of typical strength. I cannot pick Italy here, but this one figures to last longer than 90.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Are you ready for some footbaaalllll!!! Group D Day 2

SWE 1-2 ESP - The two strikers made it happen in the first half. Sweden took off Ibra at the half, which would, to a team with more grit than the Spaniards, signal that the match is there for the taking. Spain didn't pounce. As usual, Spain was ineffective when the game wasn't pretty and needed a horrid blunder to take the points.

To be fair, Spain did show some grit to hang with- and defeat- the tough Swedes. Spain got hosed by not getting a penalty when their man was run down. They did enjoy far more possession, even if they didn't capitalize. But, they will have to do more if they want to win this show.

GRE 0-1 RUS - The difference here was Clooney going after a stray cross like a child chasing the ice cream truck. Some Russian flipped it back over his shoulder to another Russian who was left unmarked, likely due to the Greek back line's stunned disbelief at their keeper's jaunt. Facing elimination, the Greeks actually tried to push for a goal, which left them exposed. But the Russians missed all of their many opportunities.

The Greeks hardly made any half chances from their efforts and are left to cry foul from a dubious offside flag that nullified a potential goal. Vainly chasing the game should make it clear to the Greeks that they caught lightning in a bottle with their success of 2004. They are shown the exit door, as the nominal holders go two and done. See y'all later, boys; rework that phalanx and...don't forget to drop off the cup.

Are you ready for some footbaaalllll!!! Group C Day 2

ITA 1-1 ROU - Despite the best efforts of the officials, Italy have managed to keep themselves from being eliminated. After the burocrats declared the opening goal against the Dutch as justified, these match officials flagged the Italians when, under FIFA's own bastardization, Toni was onside. After Mutu pounced on Zambrotta's hash for the opener, the Italians immediately equalized. It might have been fun to see the neurosis build. The officials again tried to hose Italy, via that atrocious penalty call, but Buffon came to the rescue.

In the grand scheme of things, the Italians didn't deserve a better result. The Italian defense
has holes and the Romanians, though only counterattacking, confidently operated in those spots. They forced two other excellent saves from Buffon. This speaks to Italy's lack of quality, as they typically only ask for one of those saves per match from Buffon.

NED 4-1 FRA - This is the combination of Dutch pressure, missed chances and atrocious defending by the collection of Africans playing in the France shirt. Thuram was especially horrid on Robben's goal, destroying the momentum created by Henry's goal. Henry, for his part, bungled a sitter prior to his strike. The referee did them no favors, refusing a hand ball in the box.

Henry must have thought that this was his testimonial, as he was smiling, hugging and schmoozing with all the Dutch in the post match handshakes. I can't understand what could make Henry so happy after he just had is ass handed to him. Personally, I'm not much for post match festivities, certainly not in a competitive match. When I lose, which isn't as often these days, I do my best to keep away from people because I feel like I want to mangle someone.

I was noting this to my match company as it happened and, perfect timing, the cameras cut to a scowling Ribery storming off the field. That's me, after a loss. Ribery's one ugly sumbich, but he is the only one that can go home to his old lady and say that he played.

A lot can still happen in this group, provided the Dutch don't play their match against Romania from the bar.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Are you ready for some footbaaalllll!!! Group B Day 2

I was waiting for everybody to finish calling Croatia's win over Germany an upset. Generally, I only hear Tommy Smyth's bad comedy act. But this tournament has showed me that, as an analyst, he is football's answer to Joe Morgan. He's been watching football for 50 years, but he knows nothing about it. Just like Morgan, when he is proven to have made an invalid point, he chases that mistake right off a cliff. Now, I understand that the man trades solely on his brogue.

HRV 2-1 GER - Croatia got the better of an ordinary German squad. There was no upset, the Croatians weren't lucky. As was explained, the Croatians are a dark horse in every tournament they enter. Right about now, that horse is isn't so dark.

AUT 1-1 POL - I wasn't sitting through this match. From what I understand, Poland has a pet Brazilian who put them out front, only to be vicimized (I saw this part) by a blatant case of home cooking. That penalty call was awful. This was the only way they were ever going to score. Their borrowed Croatian stepped up and drilled home the penalty- I think it was mentioned that Croatians don't miss penalties.

If Platini has channeled David Stern- and Austria get a little more home cooking against Germany- the Germans could have themselves a Euro party at Frings' villa next week.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Are you ready for some footbaaalllll!!! Group A Day 2

CZE 1-3 POR - A fun watch, especially the first half. Portugal is a little better than the Czech Republic, as the Czechs, having nothing resembling Barbie, are just not as strong as they have been. The match proved as much. Poof-naldo hit a fantastic one-timer for the clinching goal. Portugal then caught the Czechs napping- or searching the crowd for the next porn starlet- and stole a third at the end. Once again, Poof-naldo wasn't sufficiently impressive overall for the level of his hype, even against a side not terribly interested in defending. But, he deserves full marks for that strike, even if he was preparing to dive in case his shot went awry. I want to abuse him for that, but I'm somewhat impressed by his having the wherewithal to plan ahead like that.

SUI 1-2 TUR - I wasn't going to watch this game. I can only guess that the Swiss stayed in the locker room for the second half and the Turks managed to score twice- and needed stoppage time for the second- while left alone on the field. Seriously, the Turks are marginally better than the Swiss, who probably wouldn't be playing were they not hosting. That said, the Turks did well to pull out this road match and have given themselves a shot at advancing with a result against the Czechs.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Are you ready for some footbaaalllll!!! Group D Day 1

ESP 4-1 RUS - Of course, it's easy to spout the virtues of David Villa after that performance. He looked good even when he wasn't scoring. As a whole, the Spaniards didn't look as good as the score would indicate, but were plenty better than the unmotivated Russians (a redundancy). It's easy to swoon over Spanish football. They play so pretty. I've seen it so many times. How will they play when the game doesn't come so easily?

GRE 0-2 SWE - As holders, Greece owe more to the game than bastardized catenaccio. If the champ is going to lose, he should go swinging. One of the chief downsides of sacrificing offense is that you have little room for error, a margin, on this day, made even smaller by the mere presence of Ibra, supposed balky knee and all. Karagounis, awful as he was, should give back that number 10 shirt.

The Greeks' tactics, made necessary by a lack of talent, were excusable when they found a way to score in each of the knockout rounds in 2004. This time around, there is no Zagorakis to marshal the squad to withstand the pressure and there is no Tsiartas to create magic out of nothing when there is a need to chase the game.

Sweden, just as big and tough and, through Ibra, more talented, didn't help the game any by refusing to push the game when the Greeks pulled. Sweden's tactics were to hammer high balls into Ibra to wear down the Greeks. As well they should have, as Ibra is the one clear advantage Sweden had over Greece. It's hard to fault them, especially because it worked.

Greece were finally lulled to sleep by their own game and Ibra pounced for a bit of magic. Soon after, they pulled Dellas- proving the brilliance of Sweden's tactics- and Sweden walked right through the hole in the defense to stuff home the second.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Not offsides, huh?

So, some burocrat from UEFA decided that Van Nistelrooy was correctly judged onside on his goal.

The starting point, said Mr (UEFA General Secretary David) Taylor, is the Laws of the Game – Law 11 – which deal with offside... "If you think back to the situation, the first is the goalkeeper, and the second is the defender (Panucci) who, because of his momentum, actually had left the field of play. But this defender was still deemed to be part of the game. Therefore he is taken into consideration as one of the last two opponents. As a result, Ruud van Nistelrooy was not nearer to the opponents' goal than the second-last defender...If we did not have this interpretation of the player being off the pitch then what could happen is that the defending team could use the tactic of stepping off the pitch deliberately to play players offside, and that clearly is unacceptable..."

In the modern interpretation (read: bastardization) of the offsides rule, when an offensive player is in an offside position, he can avoid being called offside by not involving himself in the play. The most recent case is the Czech Republic's goal against Switzerland. Even though the defense has set up to trap a player offside, this player can, in effect, negate that trap by not involving himself in the action, even though he is still in the way. Another player, who was not previously in an offside position can then streak behind the defense and walk in on goal. The defense winds up being punished because, even as the trap has snared its victim, they still have to defend against the players still in an onside position.

Now, UEFA is saying that the defenses do not enjoy that same privilege. So, when a player is sprawled out injured at the back, he plays the opposition onside. But, if an offensive player in a similar situation does not play his team offside. Similarly, if an offensive player, in tracking down a ball, winds up in the stands, and stays for a swig of beer (as well he should), he does not play his team offside. However, if, in trying to make a clearance, a defender winds up in the advertising boards, he is deemed to be part of the play and is "nearer" his goal than the striker standing at the goalmouth.

Being the (C U Next Tuesday) that he is, the UEFA burocrat hides behind a supposed defensive tactic of pulling off players from the pitch to trap teams offside...because running off the pitch is a more effective tactic than marking your opponent. What's worse, the statement implies that UEFA would not even trust its referees to determine if such a tactic was employed.
That's european burocracy for you. The arguing prevails over the argument. I'd rather hear the truth; that the powers that be want goals and don't care how they come. Sling that bullshit somewhere else.

Are you ready for some footbaaalllll!!! Group C Day 1

ROM 0-0 FRA - France without Zidane is Senegal. France without Henry is (insert African Federation ranked lower than Senegal). Makelele is still too much quality for Romania. Nobody was ever going to score.

NED 3-0 ITA - History will remember this as the worst destruction (to date) in Italy's history. The Dutch certainly played well enough to trounce the Italians. To take this match simply as that would be to ignore the dubious breakthrough and subsequent ripple effect. Granted Sneijder's goal was magic but, does that happen in a nil-nil match? Do the Italians expose themselves at the back by pressing as they did? Nonetheless, the Italians had plenty of time and chances to pull back the game, but they didn't take their chances.

They're an aging team, to boot. Without Cannavaro to marshal the team, Italy's biggest sin will prove to be that they have not replenished the back line. Panucci, at 35, is still out there. Materazzi is 34. If Cannavaro were available, he'd be another 34 year old at the back. Zambrotta, the baby of the bunch at 31, will bring down the average age of Milan's back line next season. Had he wanted to, they would have let Maldini play. The 3/4 Milan midfield isn't much younger.

Milan never saw it coming and crashed hard with its geezer set. Italy have learned nothing from this and are set to mimic Milan's crash.

The holders will be in action on Tuesday. While they may even be a little better (on paper) this time around, everybody sees them coming. The Swedes, meanwhile, will see what they can get from Ibra.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Are you ready for some footbaaalllll!!! Group B Day 1

The second day of Euro 2008 brought a couple of snoozefests. At least there haven't been any draws.

AUT 0 - 1 HRV - Hrvatska, d/b/a the anglicanized Croatia, drew an early penalty and pulled back, content to let Austria fumble its way around the pitch. I'm sure Croatia would have been happy enough with a draw against the hosts, so an early goal gave them even less incentive to chase the game. Croatia's defense was good, but not so good that they could not be scored upon. A goal was probably beyond Austria, but it didn't help their cause that they couldn't cross the ball worth shyte. As Croatia typically plays to the level of its opposition, they are a dark horse in any tournament they enter. They pick up a relatively painless 3 points and, if they advance, figure to cause some problems.

GER 2 - 0 POL - Actually, a Polish guy did all the scoring, but he plays for Germany...there's some awful ethnic humor in there if you try hard enough. I'm not sure if Germany has any Germans on the squad. Although they almost pulled one back at the end, it was never going to happen for the Poles. They have a bunch of guys that aren't of much use if there is no one around to score goals.

Monday brings the first death match, as the Italians link up with the Dutch. Forza Italia, but be careful how you say that...it's got dual meaning.

Are you ready for some footbaaalllll!!! Group A Day 1

No, not rugby for fairies, world football. Specifically, Euro 2008 is now in full swing. Here is some perspective.

SUI 0 - 1 CZE - The Swiss were marginally the better side, as the Czech's, on the road, seemed content to play for a draw. But, while the Swiss were able to move the ball pretty much as they wished, they can't cross a ball worth shyte and they did not take their chances. Granted, they should have had a penalty when Ujfaluši, with his hand high enough to order drinks, handled a pass in the box. The ref apparently played advantage (the Swiss wound up drawing a save from Cech and hit the bar from the rebound, but I can't understand how he played an advantage when a penalty was in order). The Czech's scored from a defensive breakdown on what I think was their only shot on goal.

POR 2 - 0 TUR - The Portuguese were never seriously threatened. Without anything resembling a striker, they could have left the Turks alone out there and they would have had trouble scoring. It probably doesn't help the Turks that, political distinctions aside, they aren't European.

Poof-naldo almost brought magic when he hit the post from an angled free kick, but didn't do all that much during the run of play. Maybe he doesn't realize that playing against second-rate EPL defenders is quite different than playing against guys, even Turks, playing for their flag. Portugal's best player (Pepe) on this day, just like in their history, was an import.

Poof-naldo reminded me of the pesetero by playing out wide. The difference is that Figo had to play out wide because the field wasn't large enough to hold both him and Rui Costa, with Figo relegated to the wing. Poof-naldo is hiding out there because, being a man by anatomy only, he doesn't want the contact that will come with carrying the ball in the middle of the park...even though he would get to dive and cry and all the cameras would be focused upon him. Don't divas live for that?

The Turks gave it what they had. They even had a couple of guys that can hang. 7 was decent and 18 looks like he can play with anyone. Both of these guys were on the right and, when the ball went that way, things flowed for the Turks. While they had the guts, they also had a stodgy back line. Once a couple of their less skilled mongoloids thought they could string together some passes, they pissed away the ball and it led to Pepe's goal. While guts was enough for Sergeant Hartman, on this day, it was only enough for a 2-nil defeat for the Turks.