Saturday, April 28, 2012

WM 2006--Round Three

Sehr geehrter Mitglieder,
WM 2006

Please be assured that Round 3 Composition nears its completion. Your friendly bookie must contend with double the amount of teams/matches in a global tournament. It is hence imperative that I issue a “bridge communication” to catch-up. Were I to include these matches in my last communiqué, I would have been forced to commit the fallacy of handicapping back-to-back matches involving teams I had not yet seen. If only I could promise you a “Lundi Gras” of potently irresistible contests. Such is not the case. You’ll receive a comprehensive spate of tasty “lightning round specials” from me in slightly less than 36 hours. Twenty-six of the thirty-two teams provide me with enough information to set lines. These remaining six represent the final pieces of the puzzle. Because I love every last one of you longer than any Saigon Whore could ever aspire to, I offer you the third installment of the critically acclaimed and universally celebrated series.  

Dispatches from the Penthouse (Fit the 1st)

Another beautiful Summer Evening in South Louisiana. This morn I awoke at the crack of 11 a.m. After brewing some perfectly proportioned Community Coffee, I sat on my balcony for a half hour consuming caffeine blissfulness while I chained smoked Marlboros while staring at the Mississippi.  The true measure of how pimped-out your crib is literally pertains to the activities you may engage in your bathrobe. The breeze beckoned me. After reading the paper and hitting up the clubhouse treadmill, I favored a quick swim in the pool followed by the pure euphoric ebullience of a sun-dried anhydration. How wonderful it feels to revel in the sensation of every last hair on your body standing straight up courtesy of a mystically burning nuclear furnace over 3.5 Million miles away. A read some more of the essay-centric book “A history of the world in 10 ½ Chapters”. When that began to bore me, I rifled through some more of “The Last Hayride.” When that too failed to sufficiently captivate me, I read two chapters of Madeline Albright’s “Madame Secretary”, did the NY Times Crossword and fell into a deep tranquil sleep. I awoke as the hour drew late and the gentle afternoon breeze wafted over me. A modest dinner and a few glasses of delightful Pinot Grigio later I was back on the balcony re-reading my Oxford Companion to Philosophy with the occasional glance toward the flare from the nearby oil refinery, wondering what in the hell I did to deserve such a peaceful and reflective day. Yes, my friends. Life’s great when you’re a guy who’s privileged enough to be left alone.  Hope you’re all jealous. God may not be great, but life certainly is. JJ

Dispatches from the Penthouse (Fit the 2nd)

When throwing a Football Soiree, how many televisions are appropriate? A 52-inch plasma tucked inside the private bar somehow doesn’t seem to be sufficient. Sure eight to ten people can comfortably sip cocktails, snug in their posh surroundings. What about those who prefer to lounge out by the pool? To accommodate the dozen or so who prefer to soak up the sun in chaise lounges, you’ll need to bring down another unit. Careful not to set it too close to the grill or the hot tub. What of the two extra flat screens back in the clubhouse? The ones symmetrically situated on the mahogany-paneled wall in front of the two camel leather couches and four pop-block sofa chairs? Well, this host believes in making the multilingual contingent feel welcome. Thank heavens there are two flat screens. Were one operating under more indigent conditions, it would not be possible to have both the Telemundo and Univision broadcast on. This concludes today’s homemaking hint from Heloise Vice. Four televisions should be commensurate.

Dispatches from the Penthouse (Fit the 3rd)

The requisite mezzanine flooring option for the Southern Intellectual is none other than amber-colored hardwood. The Southern Intellectual can easily acquire a glossy marble tabletop bedecked with candles and bowls of fresh fruit. The Southern Intellectual can easily amass bookshelves full of Faulkner novels, Nietzsche compilations, Allain de Botton masterpieces, and AJIL journals. The Southern Intellectual may pour himself a wine refill before striding out to a balcony overlooking an oil refinery, raising his glass high to make a point less erudite than his surroundings might suggest. Should this striding not take place across amber-colored hardwood floors, something is lacking. The great Southern Intellectual is nothing more than a lucky bastard felicitous enough to fall into, for a brief moment, the lap of luxury. Faulkner, Percy, Toole, Styron, Fox, Lee, Capote, Welty, O’Connor, Dickey, and Hurston. A life without undue reward remains incomplete. Undeserved comeuppance focuses the mind. The mind zeroes in on more than amber-colored hardwood floor, but that will have to wait until tomorrow J

Editor’s retroactive notes:
“A genuine part of the Sportsbook must not be deleted.”
“A genuine part of the Sportsbook must not be deleted.”
“A genuine part of the Sportsbook must not be deleted.”
“A genuine part of the Sportsbook must not be deleted.”

Kindly refrain from taking it seriously. Had I considered myself the rightful heir to Ernest J. Gaines, would I have devoted such a large portion of my life to assiduously working on the metaphysical equivalent of low-magnitude flatulence? Actually, I happen to believe the wayward lad deserves some defending. His life was very much in line with contemporary conceptions of the “Southern Intellectual”. He was a well-read unemployed drunk who wasted what talent he had honed on obsessive sports viewing. That, my friends, is the life of the “Southern Intellectual”. “What shall I do with this vocabulary? Hmmm..not much I can do with it around here..”


Switzerland vs. Togo


Must I really pick the Swiss? Welcome to my nightmare. My financial gain depends on these alpine sheep-shaggers? Ugh. Essentially nothing I can do to polish this turd. Otto Pfister has returned to coach the unpaid team he only recently met a month ago. The Federation Togolese de Football goes by the initials FTF. Within the pages of my black book, the initials stands for “fuck these fuckers.” Fuck the governing council for firing the Nigerian coach who managed the team to qualification and bringing in a German right before the tournament. Fuck them for refusing to pay the players their contracted bonuses. Fuck the hereditary undemocratic prince Gnassingbe for allowing such corruption to burgeon. You fuckwads have hung the pride of your nation out to dry! They’ll fly home from Germany having been stomped by BOTH the Swiss and the French. How can you do this to us?

There’s no way the Sparrow Hawks can duplicate their competitive showing against South Korea. The Captain is suspended and top two scorers are hurt. The Swiss shall have their moment in the Dortmund Sun..and I’m in a pissy mood about it.

THE LINE: Switzerland +2 Goals

Editor’s retroactive notes:
RESULT: Switzerland 2, Togo 0. Remained angry through this entire match. I was livid to see the “Schweitzer Stolz” signs protruding about the sea of red-clad fans before kickoff. I started fuming after Magnin found Tranquilo Barnetta with the full-switch cross and started convulsing when Barnetta found Alexander Frei with the one touch pass. By the time the camera focusing on an elated Köbi and his four chins I was spitting pea soup at the screen. I was infuriated at Adebayor for sending a golden goal-scoring opportunity into the side netting and even more incensed when he attempted to dive in the box. Tranquilo Barnetta added a second goal in the 88th minute with a blast from thirty yards out that snuck in the far post. I did not personally witness this goal as I had already morphed into a green mutant ogre running around downtown Baton Rouge destroying everything within my line of site with the old trusted Louisville Slugger. “Grrrr. PETER MAD. PETER SMASH! PETER TAKE REVENGE ON SWISS!

Spain vs. Tunisia


Look who decided to show up? La Roja are finally living up to their potential, motivated by Xenophobic Bigot. Who would have thought it would take a close-minded intolerant sectarian cold bring this disparate nation together? Okay. No more wasted energy on Aragones.

As if Xavi, Xavi Alonso, Raul, Sergio Ramos, and Fernando Torres weren’t enough here comes this kid David Villa out of nowhere. I didn’t even consider the Valencia striker worth a mention up until this point. I had no clue he would be starting in place of Raul. Apparently he’s scored 25 goals in 35 matches for Valencia. Apparently there are more than two teams in La Liga, a fact we all conveniently ignore. My apologies for this oversight, but it’s not as if Villa has completed supplanted Raul. Aragones appears to have split the position between them. There’s some sort of understanding that each will play 45 minutes. The same applies to strikers Luis Garcia and Cesc Fabregas. The Spanish play a 4-3-3, rotating two of their three strikers out not based on fitness but convention.

La Roja are top heavy and it appears an innovative way to keep fresh boots in attack. A potential drawback may be the fragmentation of the squad’s general flow. We shall see. For now it’s time to kick back and enjoy the show as they trounce Roger Lemerre’s latest catastrophic experiment.

THE LINE: Spain +3 Goals

Editor’s retroactive notes:
RESULT: Spain 3, Tunisia 1. This seemingly overwhelming defeat almost never occurred. It was the Eagles of Carthage who struck first after Mehdi Nafti simply refused to quit. He regained possession after losing it three times and lofted a useful ball to Jaohar Mnari. Casillas could do little beyond simply get in the way Mnari’s initial strike, giving up a delectable rebound that Mnari slammed home. The remainder of the first half was nothing short of nerve-wracking for La Furia Roja. Aragones could show no patience, inserting Raul and Fabregas before the restart. Villa remained in to complete a four striker set that put over two dozen attempts on goal. A solid final ball was elusive until the 71st, when Joaquin found Raul with plenty of space to the left of keeper Ali Boumnijel. This time it was his turn to show his hunger and persistence. Raul pounced on another inviting rebound with cool confidence.

Fabregas picked out Torres with a cutting cross-pitch pass five minutes later. Bouminjel ran out to meet him, but Torres finished with the type of class one cannot help but wonder what the hell happened to. Torres was pulled down as he lept for a Raul cross in injury time, grabbing his brace on the subsequent penalty. I pulled no punches in dealing with Aragones, but he had some truly novel ideas concerning the administration of his eleven. During this tournament he tweaked an offensive carousel approach that would serve the squad well in 2008. Del Bosque carries on a disciplined “team first” rotating approach for the now defending European and World Champions. It’s absolutely conceivable that they’ll take Euro 2012. The Spanish haven’t looked this dangerous in over 500 years.

Saudi Arabia vs. Ukraine


Such a rude welcome for the “Lebensraumers”. That 4-0 defeat surely left many in a Kiev dive contemplating whether a return to the Russian sphere might be worthwhile. No worries my cherished purveyors of bread and salt. Now it’s your turn to kick a little ass. You have two quality strikers in Shevchenko and Voronin. I’ve no idea where they were against Spain, presumably wherever your warehouses of enriched uranium are. They’ll show up for this one. Though your welcome may have been less than gracious, the Saudis are a welcome mat. Stomp on them and dust off your boots to assume your rightful place as second in this group. The worst is over. As sure as Yuila Tymonschenko has no bangs. As sure as Yushchecnko’s face is pockmarked. As sure as ninety percent of you have a surname ending in “o”, you’ll win big here.

THE LINE: Ukraine +3 Goals


Editor’s retroactive notes:
RESULT: Ukraine 4, Saudi Arabia 0. Rollin in dough after this one. Not a soul could stop me from profiting from this tournament. That may have been the first disrespectful Tymonschenko reference. It certainly won’t be the last. Even as global human rights campaigners advocate for her freedom, it seems to me that she’s living quite comfortably in incarceration. What other prisoner has a wardrobe, entourage, full Internet access, and all the amenities of house arrest? Hitler might have been jealous. He only had one secretary while behind bars. Alright…free Julia. Right. Fall in line there, Vicey.

Speaking of names that begin with the prefix “Tymo”, Tymoshuk is the name of Ukrainian footballer…one with a more reasonable use for his blonde locks no less.
He provided excellent service to Andre Rusol off a corner for a 4th minute goal. One minute later he nearly accomplished the same for Shevchencko. Sergei Rebrov nailed a long-distance shot a few steps away from the middle of the pitch in the 36th. You’ll see something similarly spectacular maybe twice in your life. Tymoschuk eventually set up Shevchenko for a sweet finish just after halftime. Shevchencko himself cut one back for Kalinichenko a few minutes from time. The Green Falcons didn’t even put one shot on goal. Their closest effort was a full fifteen wide. I’ll say it a thousand times if I must: Allah a’int so Akbar.