Video Resolution


An all-English crew tonight Aly. 


I installed a bit of electronic security in the brewery this year. I can now sit in my office, or in bed, and see what a dark, deserted brewery and tap room look like from five different angles 24 hours a day. What this also does is monitor my after-hours drinking. I’ll be working late on, I don’t know, a blog for example. As I check my email for Gary’s latest posting I’ll see an alert cross my computer screen.


I go to the tape: a grainy figure slinks by the bar in black and white, deftly clears the tap and pours a Beer-Kleen® pint of Field Trip. Two fingers of head like he’s done this before. Startled, I phone the sheriff. “I’ve caught the bastard who’s been draining my kegs after hours. You can look at the tapes!”


Old habits die hard and you can see a similar pattern of denial among International soccer players and the new VAR system. How often have we seen a heap of bodies in the box concluding with players from both sides screaming for the official to consult the monitor. I like the VAR in theory, but I hope improvement comes.


Let’s assume that some of the communication issues between field and fan are resolved, and that fans become more educated about the requirements for VAR review. Beyond that here are a few thoughts presented free of charge.



                                                                                                                                  Halloween Costumes
Shep Blatter's recommendations were nixed for the 2010 games. 



There are only four instances of VAR use: goals, penalties, straight red cards and mistaken identity. All of these events should be reviewed, rather than option. The four officials with all camera angles at any speed without any player distraction should always be the best decision. Yet in the current system, referees are given the full power to accept or decline VAR. I don’t know if there has been any disagreement in practice, but it’s a foolish capitulation to tradition.


The sticking point may always be interpretation more than rule, and any attempt to fine tune the evaluation process and educate the fans should be encouraged. The threshold for changing a decision is that it is a “clear and obvious” error. Like in American football, there is going to be an inherent bias toward the original call.


Goals, straight red cards and mistaken identity are more a matter of objective factors, so a lot of the controversy in VAR is for penalties and most of the problems here have been a lack of enforcement of existing rules. If holding by offense or defense were always called it just wouldn’t happen. The only penalty kicks would be poor but honest attempts at defending.


One problem is the wide discrepancy between offensive and defensive holding in the box. One is a simple goal kick, the other is usually a goal. I would severely punish an offensive holding in the box (or simulation in the box) with a trot down to the other end for the penalty. Again, just wouldn’t have all the screaming and surrounding the ref.


Red Cards
Why only straight? Both types have the same negative effect on the team, so why not review a second yellow. I can’t imagine this would be a common overrule as officials are usually already lenient about a second yellow. But there have been instances when an opponent is found to simulate and draw a foul, or perhaps no contact has been made at all. Conversely I agree we shouldn’t review the “lack” of a second yellow as this is basically reviewing every minor foul.


Much like players waving the imaginary card, players constantly calling for VAR should be punished with a yellow card. And players violating decorum during the review in question should be properly carded. 


Let’s debunk one criticism: The four instances that allow VAR review already come with game delays so review doesn’t affect flow, yet you’ll hear critics cite this as a negative. On the contrary, additional drama will fill some of the normal dead time that occurs after a goal, red card or penalty.   


Day 9: The Games (we’re counting down now):

Probably the four best teams in the tournament play on Friday.

The beers:
Rodenbach Grand Cru . Enjoy with the steak frites below and enjoy the games.



 Les Cactus

Artist: Jacques Dutronc

Nation: France

Album: (the first of seven consecutive LPs identically titled) Jacques Dutronc (1966)


I’m pretty sure we had a day off from writing here at STC House on Wednesday. But I’m not sure because I spent most of it asleep. Some nasty summertime cold hit me Wednesday morning with the full force and fury of Ronaldo’s theoretical fifth strike of the tournament that never happened. And today, Thursday, wasn’t much better.


But the football timing was fortuitous, seeing as there wasn’t any football. Presumably I’ll be in better shape to greet its resumption on Friday morning with Uruguay-France in Nizhny Novgorod.

Oh yeah, France. Is anyone talking about France? I don’t hear a lot of people talking abut France. I’ve not yet talked about France.


So let’s talk about France.

I’ve been tempted to write about French music in several previous installments when the deadline was creeping and the brain was empty. It’s been my unused safety valve. I figured I could whip up a quick seven or eight paragraphs about any of about 100 really great Françoise Hardy tracks that would pass both critical and entertainment muster.


I thought about going there today, until I got diverted on YouTube by this. I’d heard a little bit about this Jacques Dutronc fellow over the years and some of his songs are in some French music playlists I’ve made on Spotify.

But, until looking him up just now, I didn’t know how important he’s been in the history of French pop music. He also seems to be one of the pioneers of a unique French slant on rock, he later got into films, etc. He wrote for a lot of other French pop stars, including Françoise Hardy, his partner around the time of this video (1966) and his eventual wife ("for tax reasons," according the Madame), from whom he is now separated.


Now then, to the track. Among my other Spotify playlists is one I’ve titled “Be Thankful They Don’t Take It All,” which consists of songs clearly influenced by (or thieving wholesale) the Beatles’ “Taxman.” I’d put this loosely in that same category (as a matter of fact I have), but I’m not sure about the timing. “Revolver” came out in early August ’66, this I think a little later. Which came first, the Jacques or the George?


And yes, like it says on the tin, the song is about the cactus. Well, lots of cacti. The entire world is a cactus, goes the song. In the hearts, smiles and wallets of others -- all cacti. This forces the singer to deploy his own cacti in various ways,


I reckon there’s some 1966 French intellectualism there that I’m missing. That ALWAYS happens. 

No matter. This is a cracking, fun and delightfully live performance on a Swiss television program that appears to have something to do with music and bowling.There’s undeniable cool here that's entirely undiminished by time. Dutronc seems in some ways  to be about 10 years ahead of himself here, as if he could teleport himself to 1976 CBGB’s and fit right in. The goofy skipping-record conceit set up by the central-casting Europop host couple just adds to the appeal. I’m glad to have found this.


Will people be talking about France on Friday afternoon? Not sure if you’re a football guy, M. Dutronc. But if so, bonne chance. 

Nat's Kitchen: 


France (Steak-Frites)

- It’s too hot for beef bourguinon or cassoulet, too land-locked for bouillabaisse. Steak and frites were made for the Midwest -is it such a coincidence that the state of Iowa flag very much resembles the French flag? ....I think not. It' a national dish as far as the Brassiere (casual French restaurant) crowd is concerned. Rump steak was the go to steak originally but ribeyes and strip steaks are now more widely used.  The bloodier the better according to some French locals


The steak is topped or served with a red wine pan sauce made from the drippings and the stuck on bits from the steak and beárnaise sauce, hollandaise sauce with the addition of fresh tarragon and reduced tarragon vinegar. Grilled tomatoes or duxelles (mushroom stuffing) stuffed tomatoes accompany the dish. And don’t forget a h

eaping helping of frites (fries) and plenty of roasted garlic aioli.


- Viva La France!!!


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