Quit yer bitchin



 Stop Your Sobbing (Demo)

Artist: The Pretenders

Nation: 3/4 England, 1/4 U.S.

Album: Pretenders (song is a 1978 demo, appearing on 2002 re-release of the 1980 album containing original 1979 single version, which itself is a cover of a 1964 Kinks song. Got it?)


Still sick Friday evening and operating on about one cylinder so this will be quick. But it doesn’t have to be long. And this won’t be terribly original. 

So now that I’ve sold it in ...


I love pretty much everything about this game except the damned diving — the light contact that always seems to result in intense referential facial pain as players wilt to the floor. Especially the super-flagrant stuff. 


Watching the otherwise excellent Belgium-Brazil match today, I was treated to about 400 replays of Neymar from the Mexico match, rolling around on the pitch as if the Mexican player’s boot that touched him lightly also contained a hidden taser. So jaw-droppingly cringeworthy. I heard the Mexican coach share some choice post-game words about the state of it all. But then I heard Fox commentators defending it as just part of the good old game.



Nonsense, nonsense, nonsense. If it works, it’s cheating. It doesn’t, and even if it does, it’s pathetic. A child could tell you this. 


It’s not even a strategic exploration of an opponent’s temporary lack of focus, like the hidden baseball trick or hurrying a snap to catch an extra guy before he leaves the field. It’s just a concentrated form of dishonor in a game that does a reasonably good job otherwise of staying above such cheapness. 

Maybe it’s selective perception, but I think some borderline calls went against some of the higher-profile tournament thespians today. If so, good. 


And I’d like to see VAR-enabled indictments of flagrancy lead to straight reds, draconian suspensions, denial of hair product, Ibiza bans, whatever it takes to make a dive something that embarrasses a player and makes teammates and fans mad at them.



                               Cinzano, with a side of ennui. 

After yesterday’s DJ post featuring Jacques Dutronc I was dead set on doing a French film theme today. Jean Paul Belmondo and Jeanne Moreau taking a table with Jacques playing in the background. I see Jean taking a toke with his pouty Gallic lips, drinking a flute of lager. Jeanne a long drag on a Gauloises and sipping red wine from a water glass. Graytoned, clinking, stainless steel bar redolent of smoke and intellectualism spilling from surrounding tables. Bartender watching football on a grainy TV. Didn’t take.

Here were some efforts:

A. Matching favorite movie to the country and year of furthest stage in the WC. (For example, a classic would be Blow Up, Antonioni, England 1966.) But I couldn’t find a Croatia film I’d seen.

B. Simply matching classic favorite movies to countries remaining. France 400 Blows. Why?
C. Finding a football-film connection. Sweden, My Life as a Dog. Set in 1958.  There is a radio clip celebrating Sweden during its hosting of the World Cup. This would be good, but it ended here.

D. Films with football as a significant plot point. The Golden Vision, or one of Gary’s favorites, Gregory’s Girl. (Probably Scottish, but).


E. Matching Mad Men clients to the teams still in play. This is beyond me right now, but I recall Laine Pryce celebrating the 1966 final with his wife and other ex-pats at a Manhattan British Pub.  


So there won’t be a film-related blog today or ever, but thanks for the 1960s era references Gary.


Day 8: The Games:
I concur with DJN, and not just because I have nothing prepared. As usual he distilled the day’s actions with little to add.


But add I will. There were two things that stuck in my craw: the unpunished dive in the box by Neymar and, as DJ picked up on, Stuart Holden’s defense of the cheating.* I awoke two sleeping dogs with my ranting after this announcer’s defense this morning. As I noted in yesterday’s post, this is a problem with an obvious solution: penalize the diver.


Let’s consider the role of VAR today. One of the world’s greatest footballers goes flying in the box in a game they are losing by 2. If the referee is unsure of what happened he knows VAR is in his back pocket so he can waive off the protest or award the PK and subsequent review will either exonerate or correct the call. Either way no one is going to ultimately blame the referee for the result. That he waived it off means he actually saw the incident or, alternately, the widespread attention of Neymar’s antics made it the easy choice.   


Without VAR we have a whole new dynamics. As in American football, one of the things you’ll see in soccer is that officials begin to referee the score, not the game when the score begins to widen. Suddenly every close challenge is a free kick for the losing team** (especially if they are the favored team). Now the easier decision by the ambivalent referee is to award the free kick. Neymar scores on a PK at that point and there is 40 minutes left for Brazil to win the game with two goals instead of 20 minutes. And with the way Belgium went into a shell in the second half I’m convinced Brazil wins without any extra time.


This argument isn’t meant as a defense of VAR, but a condemnation of the acceptance of cheating. In Peter World the official would have waved a yellow card in Neymar’s face***and trotted everyone down to watch Hazard score a PK to kill the game 3-0. In other words, Neymar wouldn’t have dived because instead of cheeky and humorous, it would have been an automatic dagger to the heart of your team. Players like Neymar should be shamed as if they were caught betting against their team, not rewarded. Just wait, how many millions will McDonald’s pay him in the next few weeks to make a funny commercial about diving for a Big Mac.


I also believe DJ in that it seemed there was a reluctance to reward cheating in today’s game. My cynical side says it was press attention given to the farcical antics of #10. I hope that there is actually a real effort to eliminate the routine simulation that’s “part of the game.” Like fighting in hockey I just don’t buy it.


Let’s eat some fried meat and potatoes!


*not the first Holden defense of chicanery this tournament. https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/columnist/martin-rogers/2018/07/02/neymar-brazil-fake-injury-world-cup/752087002/
**Sunderland excepted
***Subsequent drop, roll and writhe for 90 seconds.


Nat's Kitchen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Kuhaj.hr - Story

Coatia is an interesting crossroads of cuisine blending Slavic, Austrian, Hungarian and German influences.  Because of this cultural log-jam local cuisines differ by region.  So today I will be focusing on the Northwest region that houses the capital City of Zagreb.

Zagrebački odrezak


It is served with fries and lemon wedges.  Throw in a beer and there you have a dynamite meal for big game viewing.


ŽIVJELI!!!  (Cheers)


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