Monday, April 30, 2012

WMQ 2009--Syndicate: Afterlife

WMQ 2009 (2)

Editor’s retroactive notes:

For the final stages of the 2009 qualifying rounds it was all about the links. Much to my elation, they all still appear to work! Pleasant viewing of Diego Maradonna and  Giovanni Trappatoni, the latter of whom will provide us with comedic gold in a scant few weeks.

A vigorous greeting to “all my rowdy friends”! (otherwise known as the Stateside Syndicate members)

I have a question for you. In actuality, I have a question accompanied by some cheap pyrotechnics, a washed up country singer, and some scantily clad girls that we hired at below market rate. That question is:

C’mon and get Ready!
I mean really ready!
I do believe I indicated “very ready”
A Saturday/Wednesday night party!
We’ve got Dmitri, Bjørn, Moussa, Thierry, and Didier
We bout to get it “kick” started
The games of the year are about to ignite
All my rowdy friends are watchin FIFA tonight

Editor’s retroactive notes:

Hitler and Netanyahu? Sorry, Hank. I think you meant “Hitler and Herzl”. Keeping things temporally consistent matters. Of course you didn’t deserve to lose your job, but we can do better in the analogy department. As a matter of fact, you could stand to benefit from the skills of a professional academic editor. Seeing as how I’m also a “Son of the South” I’ll offer my services in cleaning up your 1988 hit “If the South woulda won”.

1) You mention two states, North Carolina and Kentucky, that weren’t actually in the Confederacy. They technically would not be part of your imagined Eden. See what you can do about that.

2) You aver that the day Elvis passed away would be a national holiday. Though this is somewhat of an aesthetic criticism, the day that a bloated pill-popping shell of a man passed out on the toilet doesn’t necessarily engender jovial inclinations. I advocate switching to his birthday. Furthermore, you can combine the Patsy Cline and Skynard plane crashes into a “Carnage” amalgamation holiday if you insist on sticking with the death theme.

3) In the second stanza, you state that you’d have all the cars made in the Carolinas and ban the ones made in China. Makes for a nice rhyme, but you obviously meant Japan. Get to work on that.

4) You claim that “If the South woulda won”, we could all learn Cajun cooking down in Louisiana. I’m not entirely certain of this, but I believe we might still be capable of doing this in spite of the South’s defeat. Strive to present a consistent message.

5) Of course, you forgot the all important third stanza, essential to conveying what life in the Southern States would be like “If the South woulda won”: It would be a dirt poor, underdeveloped third world country similar to Honduras. Toy around with some ideas there.

Man. I never dreamed I would find myself looking up the Hank Williams Jr. “Monday Night Football Lyrics”…but that’s how excited I am. This weekend marks the FINAL Leg of qualifying for the FIFA 2010 World Cup! That’s right! Within the next few days, the field will be set. All that remains is one last chance for you to give me your money. This will be the last edition of the Sportsbook until April of 2010! By that time, who knows where you’ll be? Best to give up the green now. Unless, of course, I can entice you into betting on Champions League. Hehehe. Try your luck?

We’re celebrating this crucial weekend in the usual fashion: With a long, semi-coherent treatise!  If your team qualified prior to Oct. 11, I’ve already written about them. Check out the “Welcome” Section from last month’s Sportsbook. I suppose I could furnish a more comprehensive write up, but that’s what the spring is for! We’ll give all 32 Teams the full glorious treatment at that juncture, maximizing the “Hype Effect.” As it stands now, I devoted a significant amount of time and space last month to welcome 11 teams to King Zuma’s Court. Following the completion of last month’s group stages in South America, CONCACAF, and Europe we now have 12 more nations to salute. Taken together, 23 of the 32 slots for this summer’s World Cup Finals are filled. The remaining nine will come from the following regions:

Asia/Oceania—1 slot
Latin America/Caribbean—1 slot
Europe—4 slots
Africa----3 slots

Can you feel the excitement? As of next Wednesday, the complete list of states competing next summer will be finalized!! 18 Teams, nine slots, five days, and a partridge in a pear tree. Are you ready for some football? Let’s begin with some hearty Sportsbook salutations to those 12 nations who have qualified since we last spoke:



Copenhagen’s comin’ along! Hmm. I should preface that I am referring to the Danish National Football Team and not the “Climate Change Treaty”. That accord is not “coming along” very well at all. If you’re hoping for some sort of multilateral breakthrough at the Copenhagen Conference in December (that includes you Angie), you’re dreaming! Kyoto had much more willpower, and cuter waitresses. I’ve been searching everywhere for the U.S. Position Points for the Copenhagen Conference, only to discover that there aren’t any. Whoops. This could be Barack Obama’s worst visit to Copenhagen since…..nevermind. Let’s skip it.

I’m ordinarily not a fan of the Danes. They ticketed me once for crashing a Lego Car. On top of that, they want to kill puppies and eat kittens. Okay I made the part about kittens up. In spite of my preconceived prejudices, I’m getting motivated for the Danes using two new cheers I just invented:

1) Ever since a Jeopardy! Clue a couple of weeks ago, I’ve had the song “Da Da Da” from 1980s German New Wave Band “Trio” stuck in my head. Though the German Kraftwerk clones disbanded in 1985, a Volkswagen commercial in 1997 revived the song and elevated the band to cult status. Does anyone remember what I’m talking about?
“Da Da Da. Ich lieb dich nicht du liebst mich nicht….uh-uh…da da da” Two guys drive around in a Volkswagen Golf, pick up a couch from the garbage and then drop it after determining that it doesn’t smell so good? Anyone? Oh for Christ Sake, here’s the link:

The song is virtually impossible to expel from one’s head. Here’s my effort:
“Da Da Danes….Da Da Danes…….Da Da Danes……Da Da Danes. Ich lieb euch nicht. Ihr liebt mich nicht…uh-uh….Da Da Danes…..Da  Da Danes…..Da Da Danes”

2) Gøøøøøøøøøøøøøøøøøøøøøøøøøø Danes!!!!
Yes, like a Druish Prince at Hanukah, I am so overjoyed to have found out how to make an “ø” on my keyboard. Now all I have left to figure out is this weird Froggy circumflex. Join me in welcoming the following Danish players:

-Anders Møller Christenson
-Thomas Sørenson
-Per Krøldrup
-Jesper Grønkjar
-Martin Jørgenson

Obviously, Beowulf is not coming along. I was watching the animated feature last night, shocked that my favorite 12th Grade English reading assignment could be so thoroughly ruined. Even Angelina Jolie couldn’t save that movie!!


Before I get to the gloating, I would like to request a moment of silence for our keeper, Robert Enke. Robert took his own life on Tuesday, throwing himself in front of a RegionalExpress near Hanover. Details remain sketchy. He was a professional success with a beautiful young family. It boggles the mind what would possess someone with so much going for him to voluntarily leave this earth. Robert, I don't know why you did it. Whatever your reasons, I hope you found the peace you were looking for. Wir werden sie nicht vergessen! Herzlichen dank für ihren Beitrag. J

Tragedy notwithstanding, life must always go on.

Editor’s retroactive notes:

A heavy national discussion ensued, focused primarily on the topics of clinical depression and the debilitating pressures of ultra-competitive environments. That frail and doubting human beings somehow discern a way of navigating the cruel rat race every day can occasionally be seen as a miracle. There exist no regular blueprints, no guaranteed tactics, and no consistently effective strategies to combat what random neuro-chemical cocktail the mind has selected for you on any given day. Each individual plows through the regular mental maelstroms with an ephemeral set of methods and gimmicks that work…until they no longer do. The misleading cliché so often written about Robert and those who chose his fate was that they lost the battle. However, to attach the connotations of a fight to the whole process serves to mislead. One has as much control over one’s mood as the weather above. The objective is never to forcibly resist, merely to endure. I’m aware that a few simplistic words mean nothing to those who lie crushed in a compact heap in some shade-drawn little prison of room, the weight of the world gradually compressing the space into an ever-tinier cell. The only advice one can dispense is to hang tough and sweat it out. You will feel better soon. Even if no one can reach you, you will feel better soon.     

Los mit dem gloating!

Über alles in der Welt! Good evening everyone. The 34,000 Kilo Elephant has entered the room. Looking good for Ballack and Co. I must say, I like our chances. We’ve got a guy nicknamed “Super Mario”! Do you have a video game character on your team? Who do you have, “Wop Luigi”? We will have our revenge on the Italians. A few items to clear up before packing our bags for South Africa (and planning the urban parade route):

1) Joachim Löw must go scarf shopping-- I half expect to see him prowling the sidelines in a snuggie.

2) The “Guidomobile” must be refashioned into the “Deutschlandmobile”…or the “Batmobile” either way is fine—Who is this new flamboyantly gay Foreign Minister? Just don’t even ask. I don’t want to talk about it. L

3) The CDU-FDP Coalition must be renamed “die Wespe-Koalition” (The Yellow Jacket Coalition)—Here’s the thing. All five main German political parties have a color. When they band together to form a PR Majority Government, we come up with a clever press name for their marriage. For instance, Red-Yellow-Green is known as an “Ampel Koalition” (Traffic Light Coalition). Black-Green-Yellow is known as a “Jamaika Koalition” (Jamaica Coalition). Accordingly, Black-Yellow should be known as a “Yellow Jacket Coalition” or at least the “Biene-Koalition” (Bee Coalition) or the “Borussia Dortmund Koalition”.  Lazy German reporters, I implore you to get of your asses and complete the fucking permutations! I’d do them myself, but I have this whole Sportsbook to write!

4) We must move beyond the Mauer—Much more on my thoughts on Germany’s most eventful week later on. For now, I would like to make the following observations:
a) American conservatives, will you please stop saying that Ronald Reagan karate chopped the Berlin Wall down by himself!!! You’re only making fools of yourselves. This batshit statement has been parodied from everyone from Seth MacFarlane to Stephen Colbert. Let it go. A speech did not end Communism.
b) Likewise, liberals. You shouldn’t make a hero out of Gorbachev. The man who said “Ah fuck it. Nothing more I can do to stop the dam from breaking. Bring me a drink. I see the Perestroika!” may have been the ultimate pragmatist, but he was no hero.
c) “The Daily Show” did a wonderful parody of how the American media is only interested in making this anniversary about them. “I was there. Look at me! Who was that young guy”? Both the American and German media are absolutely guilty of forgoing any thoughtful analysis to reminisce over their photo albums. How is Eastern Europe doing 20 years later? Forget that! Look at that moustache I used to have!
d) Sarkozy was there. Just let him have it. I don’t give a shit if he was there or not! God, you French are so fucking annoying!
e) This “revolution” was not entirely peaceful. Have we forgotten the events that occurred in Romania? Much more on this later.

f) Medvedev came. Sign of class. Russian leadership may be ruthless, but no, paranoid nut jobs…they are not interested in re-conquering Eastern Europe. And don’t you even think about feeding me this Georgian War bullshit! Though Russia should take responsibility for issuing passports, recognizing the independence of Abkhazia/South Ossetia, and escalating the conflict, it seems to me impossible, based on the OSCE Report, that they started the whole mess. Saakashvili clearly fired the first shot. He too, is a supreme dick.

Editor’s retroactive notes:
Thank the fuck Christ this anniversary is behind us. By the time winter rolled around, I couldn’t bear to read another fucking thing about the age on Non-polarity. As I recall, I needed a full week’s vacation from any geopolitical analysis. When a singular political event begins to mean both everything and nothing simultaneously, it’s time for a stiff drink and some cartoons.


All right wops. Allow me to begrudgingly welcome back the reigning world champions. I’ll let you slide this time around and keep the ethnic slurs to a minimum. I must, however, mention that some 400,000 Italian Women have now signed the “Basta!” Petition. The word, which translates to “Enough” means that 400,000 Italian Women believe that 78 sex scandals, 243 bribery cases, 1,456 instances in which Berlusconi made a mockery of the Italian judicial system by paying his way to immunity, and shameless support for the “moral authority” of the Vatican throughout all of this is finally enough!! Berlusconi, you have enraged Italian women to the point that they are determined to sign a meaningless piece of paper! Sigh Yet again, Italian Women continue to focus their rage on all the wrong places. Business as usual L.

Editor’s retroactive notes:

That would be a not-so-subtle rib at my mother.

See full size image

There is some debate whether or not they plan to show up. Evidently, they haven’t been given enough “time to prepare”. The lousy Karadzic joke aside, I hope this is the beginning of great things for Serbia. On the Euro-political stage, they appear to making all the right moves. Mark my words; it will not be long until they recognize Kosovo's independence. They threw those bastard radicals out in the 2008 election! One can tell they crave EU Membership. Everyone’s favorite holistic healer (Karadzic) has been delivered. He will die in The Hague just like Milosevic did! The only thing the Serbs have left to prove, insofar as I’m concerned, is that they can find Mladic and hand him over. That’s it. Well, I will subject you to my time honored tradition of making fun of countries in which every football player has the same last name suffix.
I present to you…..

“Peter’s got the ‘itch’”

Antiç, Dukiç, Stojkoviç, Subtociç
Stankoviç, Ivanoviç, Petroviç, Lukoviç
Tomoviç, Vukoviç, Ninkoviç, Dragutinoviç
Cvetkoviç, Cvetkoviç, Cvetkoviç!!!!!!

Ahhh. That is so immensely satisfying. I need to start a book of “Football Suffix Haikus”. Welcome to the Party Serbians. “No one will beat these people again!” (Actually you will be beaten; crushed before the group stages are over. Sorry!)

Editor’s retroactive notes:

That would be a not-so-subtle Milosevic gag.

See full size image

What did I tell you? WHAT DID I TELL YOU? Vladimir Weiss and da boysh are comin to Cape Town! I will name my first-born Vladimir in honor of this. Can you think of a scarier name than “Vladimir Vice”?


Ach Gunter…I must give thanks for the qualification of our bizarre microstate in the shrine of Account Number #465423. If you think these alpine assholes actually have a chance next summer, you haven’t wound your kuku clock. What is there to say concerning the country where everything is exorbitantly expensive and racist political campaigns resonate with the people? Hmmm…Here are the most outrageous butcherings of the marvelous German language by Bruno Ganz in the movie “Vitus”:

5. “Ick habe Ziet” (AHHH! My ears!)
4. “doo bisht Zwölfey” (MAKE IT STOP! MAKE IT STOP!)
3. “Ick been gefloh-gen” (No more, please!)
2. “andereshes Saschen Mush doo aufshgieben” (Kill me, kill me now!)
1. “So esh es auf der Schrreize Lande” (Ahhh!!! I swear it wasn’t me. It was Julia. Julia!! Go after her O’Brien! It wasn’t me. Please. Save me. Get me out of Room 101!)

Yechh. Pardon me, as I must commence vomiting profusely.

Editor’s retroactive notes:

Only 75% recycled material!


Diego Maradona told me, and everyone else who doubted him, that we can “suck it” That, at least is the mainstream translation. Here are all the sections of his wonderfully puerile press conference rant after Argentina qualified:

<> (With German subtitles!)
(English Subtitles)

Real mature, Diego. Some of us prefer to behave like adults. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to write another 25 copulation jokes and utilize 43 of the filthiest words in the English language.


Yes sir! This World Cup is shaping up to be one of the best ever for those of us who love the ladies. In addition to the Koreans (both North and South), the Japs, the Argentines, the Brazilians, and the Spaniards we’ve got the South Africans, the Hondurans, and yes the “Red Hot Chilé Peppers”! Welcome back, Chile! I missed you!

FYI, the above play-on-words received the grand prize for “lamest joke derived from the pronunciation of the Country Chilé”. Your first and second runners up come courtesy of 80s sitcom writers who worked on “Charles in Charge”, “Mr. Belvedere”, “Alf”, “The Facts of Life” and “Who’s the Boss?” Enjoy!

First runner up: “The 2010 forecast for South Africa is…Chilé” (Ready the can laughter: hahhahahahahahahahahaha---)

Second runner up: “Grab your bowl and a spoon, because we’re serving up a heaping helping of Chilé in South Africa” (Ready the can laughter: hahahahahahahaha--)

Ahem…I will now light myself on fire.

Editor’s retroactive notes:

Prior to events that instigated the Arab Spring and the Tibetan Revival, personal pledges of self-immolation were the colloquial equivalent of a self-deprecating index finger across a sardonic smirk. I’d like to see a return to these halcyon days. Will everyone stop setting themselves ablaze?

Cote d’Ivoire
Ivory Coast

I’m excited. They’re excited. Fernando Lugo’s so excited, he impregnated two nuns! (Scratch that. Fernando Lugo is the President of Paraguay. He has nothing to do with our beloved Elphenbein Küste I simply HAD to get that joke in somehow)

I’ve already devoted so many lines to the incredible talent that exists on this team! Africa, I believe we have some heroes!


Last month, I came down pretty hard on Roberto Michelleti and Manuel Zelaya. I even remarked that I was commissioning my old roommate Reed, an expert in expelling “guys on the couch”, to the Brazilian Embassy so that things might be straightened out. A month later, absolutely nothing has changed!! This is nothing short of pathetic. Can’t you two get your shit together? I’m tired of reading Wall Street Journal Editorials averring that your country’s precarious political situation is part of some socialist White House conspiracy to leninize the continent! I have a special affinity with the Honduran people. They are the ones rebuilding New Orleans, along with the Haitians and the Mexicans. You clowns can’t even broker an electoral agreement without it falling apart in 24 hours. The revocation of your O.A.S. membership hurts your hardworking citizens while you play these vanity games. The U.S. Visa freeze separates families! You have until the start of the WM to find your bearings. If you cannot meet this deadline, well its not as if we cared much about you before, but say hello to the “Michael Corleone Moment”


Viva Galevison Games. Telemundo! Telecasts. Univision Utopia! We may all breathe a collective sigh of relief. America’s wacky neighbor will be streaming live with all the excitement of a country with something to play for. Bill Simmons’s foray into the Tequila haze of Azteca may be found here:

Mexico’s flexible IMF Credit line may be claimed here:

Felipe Calderon’s control of the country may be seen here:


Vicente Fox’s ability to stick to a two-drink maximum can be found here:


United States of America
United States

Before proceeding with the U.S. Section, I’d like to request a moment of silence for Charlie Davies. Charlie was involved in an automobile accident that will likely end his football career. The budding superstar was cut down in his prime. He was definitely one of the best to ever put on a U.S. jersey. Best wishes for a speedy recovery, Charlie!

Editor’s retroactive notes:

Charlie has made what amounts to a full recovery and now plays on loan for D.C. United. Though his return to the national team seems doubtful, it’s incredible that he’s walking, let alone playing football.

Life goes on…onwards with the taunts!

USA! USA! USA! “Freedom!”, “Liberty!”, “God and Country”, “Tried and True American Spirit", “Our Forefathers.”….hmmm….”small government!”, “The greatest best country God ever gave man on the crust of the earth!” I sincerely hope everyone has had a chance to read the seventh “Crap Paper” accepted for publication by a reputable academic journal in the past ten years. If you missed it, here’s the link:

Click on the “Deconstructing Access Points Pdf” link

Such papers serve to illustrate that, in the world of specialized academic jargon, the emperor often has no clothes. In spite of the fact that this paper is nothing but random gibberish generated by a computer program, reputable “scholars” peer-reviewed it and signed off on its publication. “Well, the authors appear to be using the right words. Never mind if it makes any sense. I’m hungry. Lunchtime!” Before the present American conservative movement decries the superficiality of “liberal academic elites”, one should point out the fact that the same program generates every Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann speech. I’m convinced of it. Throw those words articulated above in a computer program; pay no heed to the fact that it makes no sense, Mmmm….lunchtime. My thesis is as follows: “All work is completely in this country prior to lunchtime”. Perhaps I’ll publish a paper to this effect. But first, lunchtime!

The Onyewu injury and Charlie Davies freak accident means that Sam’s Army will be on one of the first flights out of Johannesburg. Don’t even bother packing a third outfit. It’s all over. If anyone would care to jump on the Deutschland bandwagon (the newly refurbished “Guidomobile”) just let me know!

Notable European Absences---

Why should we preoccupy ourselves with losers? Good question. The unfortunate failure of certain European nations to qualify has left me morbidly despondent. L It happens every time on our adored continent. There are simply too many countries. Please grieve with me as a say a bittersweet farewell to some of the callow jokes I will not be able to make during 2010. Sniff *sniff* sob waaaaahhhhhh!

Czech Republic
Czech Republic

I won’t have Vaclav Klaus to kick around anymore L. Likewise, Peter Cech, Thomas Rosicky, Michal Kadlec, Radoslav Kovac, and Jan Simunek and any reference to how disgusting Pilsner-Urquell tastes are gone…gone I tell you!!! No!! Why?!?!  Everything has gone wrong, thanks to Klaus’s footnote, I will not be able to reclaim my house in the Sudetenland!!

Speaking of Klaus’s footnote, I believe we may finally concur that this man has no agenda. The reason? What passes for his “mind” is merely a historical hangover of paranoia. Seriously, here we have a man who has Europe by the balls. All 27 Member States watch with bated breath as grumpy uncle Vaclav composes a list of his demands. What does he want? Money? Sex? Drugs? Opt-out clauses? Skewed representations? Veto Rights? Parliamentary horse-trading? Nope. All Uncle Vaclav wants is a guarantee that Germans expelled after the war will not be legally able to return and claim their land. Vaclav, I don’t know how you missed this but the war ended 60+ years ago and the Iron Curtain fell some 20 years ago. During this time, I don’t believe any Germans have said, “Schatz, why don’t we pack up and head for Opa’s old farm out in the Sudetenland? Things are cluttered here, especially in the garage. I need a little Lebensraum.” If this twit is not paranoid about the Germans, it's the Soviets or the EU. Yet, under his auspices, American slackers have swarmed Prague “teaching English” and “finding themselves” (That is “being lazy” and “doing lots of drugs”). You’ve already been invaded, and it ain’t the Krauts who have taken you over!


Speaking of Euro skeptic, backward, right wing countries that I love to lampoon with crude ethnic jokes, where will the Poles be in the summer of 2010? In a Warsaw Bar, drowning their sorrows in vats of Okocim. L Sorry, Polksa. I was so looking forward to the German team completely humiliating you with your own players. Thanks for all the memories (especially 2006 J) Goodbye-ski! Good Luck-ski!

(P.S. Please send all talented youngsters to:
Deutsche Fußballnationalmannschaft
Attn: Dr. Theo Zwanziger
Otto-Fleck-Schneise 6

60528 Frankfurt/Main)

Danke Schön-ski!!

Northern Ireland
Shirt badge/Association crest

Ulster lads, I had such high hopes. It appears increasingly likely that we will have NO other UK teams besides England playing in this WM. The Scots are an overdosing Ewan Macgregor riding around Edinburgh in a taxi while Lou Reed’s “Perfect Day” plays softly in the background. The Welsh are entombed in a creepy looking Celtic burial mound. Now the Northern Irish have gone the way of the retired rev. Ian Paisley and there’s trouble at Stormont. Damn L L The Republic of Ireland is our only hope! One wishes that U.K. Football qualifying would unfold like an episode of “Highlander”. Whoever remains takes the loser’s power. There can be only one! By the way, hope you managed to catch Stephen Colbert doing this to Lou Dobbs last night:

Let’s get in a word or two concerning the peace process before we move on. Certainly, the high profile visits, such as that of Secretary of State Clinton, are overblown. The British media has wildly over sensationalized the recent up tick in violence. Compared with the state of affairs pre-Good Friday, we remain in decent shape. Nevertheless, things simply haven’t felt right since Paisley retired. For the gains of the past 10 years to unravel even slightly could prove catastrophic. England will no doubt elect a Conservative government in the coming election and one cannot anticipate a Cameron administration expending much political capital on the devolution initiatives. One has a sense that the next few months represent a critical stage, one in which absolutely no backtracking should be abided by. Who has a remedy for our ethno-religious sectarian ills? Why none other than Holy Father (Eggs) Benedict! The Supreme Pontiff from Marktl am Inn! In the Red Corner, fighting out of Bavaria, weighing a healthy 103 lbs of arthritic bone marrow, the ecumenical encyclical issuer, Joseph Ratzinger! Pope Benedict XVI!!

According to the Vatican’s own press release, the Holy Father has “generously” decided to allow “disaffected” Anglicans to “recognize the pope as their leader”! Yoo-hoo! Hear that Irish Anglicans? 450 Years after Henry VIII decided he just had to have that sweet sweet Boleyn pussy, you can come back! Of course, if you think celibacy is just not for you, you will be stripped of your cardinalship and demoted a few ranks in the church hierarchy. You also won’t be “technically recognized” as a “Catholic Parish”, but Benedict will send you a glossy that you can hang in your office!!! 450 Years and it still comes down to whether or not you want that gushy poon-tang or a picture of the pope in your study. At any rate, this is a very “generous” offer that Ratzinger “ruminated over for months” before deciding to “extend his kind and munificent hand”! Take it or leave Anglicans! Deal or no deal? Who’s your daddy? Your answer please! So, my beloved Belfast brethren, there is simply no reason to fight anymore. Benedict has paved the way for peace. This is the best thing to come out of the Vatican since they launched their own You Tube Channel back in 2008! I’m still hoping to read Ratzinger’s “Twitterberry” feed. Can’t wait to read updates like these:

“omg just bought new papal tiara! Totally deserve it!”
“like, just rehabilitated a bunch of Holocaust deniers. lol”
“like, reinstituted prayer 4 conversion of Jews. J J
“Condoms r like totally bad 4 u”

Editor’s retroactive notes:

In spite of the Cameron Coalition’s Laissez Faire approach to any and all devolution initiatives, not even minor violence has recurred in “the Colonies”. McGuiness and Robinson coexist well at Stormont, and all attention now shifts to the SNP antics over at Holyrood.

See original image

Its Renaissance Fair time and I’ve got the medieval fever! Unfortunately, I will not be able to join my friends in East Texas this year. This misfortune is compounded by the fact that my old mate -------- has discovered the perfect costume: a self-flagellating monk! Does it get any better? Prancing around with a cross around your neck, drinking Meade, and whipping your back while loudly proclaiming, “I’m a sinner!! Forgive me Lord Jesus” Er…that sounds a little like last Tuesday. Oh well. I guess I don’t really need the Renaissance Fair to amuse myself in such a fashion. Should I find myself craving a little company, I can always find a Pentecostal bake sale or something.

Anyway, it is my solemn duty to report that there will be no Dracula jokes, Castlevannia references, or shouts of “impale them like Vlad!” during next summer’s sportsbook L L The gory, eerie, bloodthirsty Romanians, who even have the dubious distinction of being the only Eastern European country to have a bloody post-communist revolution, have failed to qualify L So long my mysterious, chilling, haunted assortment of vampire-zombies. Please send me one of those “Commemorative Count Vlad Postage Stamps” to tide me over until 2012.

Editor’s retroactive notes:

Only 70% recycled material!


The absence of a bunch of Nordic Vikings is hardly a big deal. The Swedes deserve a break, having long since shored up their banking system and now needing to concentrate on how the hell to make Koenigsegg a viable entity. There is one thing that I will truly miss are the Spanish announcers overemphasizing the vowels in Zlatan Ibrahimovic



The Kebab Connection will not be joining us. This year’s title of “Ugliest Team in the Tournament” will probably belong to the Greeks. I will continue to say this until I draw my last breath: The Turks are my German half-brothers. Their collapse during this qualifying campaign has me feeling as if a close family member just died. Sure, he wasn’t the most hygienic family member. He frequently forgot to shower or brush his teeth. He wasn’t the most polite either. He was constantly shouting at you, trying to sell you something, suing media that didn’t agree with him for back taxes. He also didn’t treat women very well or admit it when he had clearly committed genocide. HE WAS STILL FAMILY!! I miss him. Sniffle

“Döner macht schöner” …and we’re through with those references for a couple of years.

See original image

“Vielen dank für ihre Interesse an der Weltmeisterschaft. Leider haben wir die Stellungen mit geeignteren Kandidaten bekleidet. Einen schönen Tag wünschen wir euch noch!”

Verpiß euch havaus, Österreicher! Ich werde euch gar nicht vermissen!

My apologies, syndicate members. I know that 98% of you don’t speak German. Problem is, I am overcome by urges to write in my “Father Tongue” from time to time. You’re just going to have to learn to deal with it!!

Editor’s retroactive notes:
A translation for anyone interested:

“Thank you for your interest in the World Championship. Unfortunately, we’ve elected to fill the positions with more qualified candidates. We wish you a pleasant day!”

“Piss off, Austrians. I won’t miss you at all!”

The Final Qualifying Matches—Africa (CAF)

Greetings, Africa fans! What an exciting weekend we have on tap. The “Super Eagles” need a miracle to rid our World Cup of those wretched Tunisians. Togo and Cameroon are battling hard for their spot in what looks to be some incredibly intense matches. Algeria and Egypt are fighting for one place as well….but who cares about Arab North Africa? Not me! It all comes down to this. Which deserving people are headed to Zuma Land? Stayed glued to your TV screen on Saturday for the most exhilarating matches of the weekend! We need a name for this momentous occasion. My nominations:

1. “Africa Shock”
2. “Bombatah!”
3. “Karamu!”
4. “Bongo Rhythm”
4. “Zulu Voodoo”

(Okay. That last one is a little too stereotypical. I couldn’t resist. Those are my two favorite New Orleans Parties and they sound so good together!)


Morocco v. Cameroon


The Moroccans have absolutely no chance in this one. There will be a party at King Mohammed’s villa featuring belly dancers, ornate hookahs, and 7 course meals. Unfortunately, they will not be celebrating a Moroccan victory. Not only am I certain that Cameroon will win, I’ll even give you the goal scorers:
Eto’o, Bassong, Bikey, Eto’o (again)

THE LINE: Cameroon +3 Goals

Editor’s retroactive notes:

King Mohammed VI appears to be eight steps ahead of any burgeoning Arab Spring movements in his territory. You want a new constitution/parliament/freedom-of-speech/equal rights clauses for women/de-deification of the monarchy/free-and-fair elections? Done, done, done, done, done, done, and done!

Togo v. Gabon


I’ve already expressed my sympathies for those suffering under dismal, worthless leadership in both of these countries. It would be nice if those in Gabon could celebrate a World Cup Berth tomorrow night. Regrettably, “Les Eperviers” will not go quietly. This sliver of an African country has WAY too much talent. Again, so confident of this am I, that I’ll give you the goal scorers:
Salifou, Mlapa, and Adebayor (twice) 

THE LINE: Togo +2 Goals

Kenya v. Nigeria


What an unhappy year it has been for my cherished Kenyans. A recent UN Report prepared by none other than Kofi Annan confirms that the power-sharing government has been an absolute failure. Corruption now pervades the ranks of Odinga’s operatives as well as Kibaki. The Mungiki are as committing as many grotesque violent acts as ever. Perhaps the time has come for all of us to admit that the so-called “French Model” of a power sharing government after a disputed election is inherently futile! @#!@#$. I am instinctively distrustful of anything labeled “The French Model”, particularly when applied to the continent of Africa. This nonsense has proven itself ineffective all over: Zimbabwe, Kenya, Mozambique, Togo, Guinea Bissau, Burkina Faso. I am a self-professed EU lover, but there simply is no place for EU Logic in Africa. At least, not yet. For all their faults, the Chinese can effectively raise African living standards. Good democratic governance comes AFTER this, not BEFORE!!

The Kenyans have been eliminated. The Nigerian “Super Eagles” are a team that is ALWAYS dominant in Youth Football, yet occasionally falters on the big stage. Everything points to Everton striker Joseph Yobo carrying the day.

THE LINE: Nigeria+3 Goals

Mozambique v. Tunisia


A hefty Colbertesque wag of my finger to the British, American, and German media. Where is our coverage of the election in Mozambique? This is inexcusable! I don't need to know what Representative “Thumb up his Ass” (R, Alabama) said about the Health Care Bill. I already know what Representative “Thumb up his Ass” said! Something about it being un-American and how it’s time to wave the American flag and implement a tax cut. Give me in-depth global reporting. If one can’t trust “The Economist” or “Die Zeit” what does one have left?

THE LINE: Mozambique +1 Goal

Rwanda v. Zambia


A meaningless match. Neither of these teams are headed anywhere.

THE LINE: Zambia+2 Goals

Egypt v. Algeria


Hello Egyptian Females! Have you heard the good news? Artificial hymens are now a multi-million dollar industry in Egypt! The marketplace is flooded with them! That’s right. It doesn’t matter whether or not you’re a virgin on your wedding night! Those of you who are actually virgins, yet busted your hymen on a bicycle, your problems are over!! All you have to do is purchase the “Artificial Hymen Kit”, now available from six different manufacturers! Your husband will never know the difference! No more worries for you! Well, there is one more worry. You still have to make love to an Egyptian man, tantamount to having sex with a disgusting warthog. Well, at least Smelly Mcdouchebag will think you’re a virgin!

THE LINE: Egypt+2 Goals

Editor’s retroactive notes:

Am I too “culturally insensitive”? Probably. Not so much were you to juxtapose me with a fundamentalist of most any religion. You likely itch to label me a “Fundamentalist Atheist”, but I don’t go to meetings, pray at the shrine of Bill Maher, or claim to see the face of Christopher Hitchens in a week-old Danish. My most intimate thoughts on the matter can be exemplified by Damon Wayans as James the Grim Reaper Roper in a three second clip from “The Great White Hype”.

“N***, grow up.” All of you. Stop acting like self-entitled children. Stop pretending as if the opposite gender begs for your exploitation.

Sudan v. Benin


An open memo to Turkish Premier Recep Tayip Erdogan:

Hosting war criminals is not permissible behavior. No, I don’t give a good fuck if you are not a signatory to the ICC. Bashiri is indirectly responsible for the slaughter of between 190,000 and 320,000 innocent people. Should you like to be taken seriously as country, and keep that dream of becoming an EU member, I suggest you do not entertain genocidal maniacs. I was extremely relieved that Bashiri cancelled his visit. As a lifelong Turkish supporter, I am growing tired of defending you against those who believe Turkey’s accession should not even be considered. You have one more chance before I drink some Pinot with Sarkozy. Pull outrageous shit like this one more time and I will get Bushido on your ass!

Finally! I am extremely hopeful that this will be the last time “Sudan” competes as a single state. Give the south its own country AND oil rights! End this madness! From now on, I the only “Janjaweed” I want to hear about in South and West Sudan is the homegrown variety…the type that can be inhaled.

THE LINE: Benin+1 Goal

Burkina Faso v. Malawi


I have to say this. I miss my friend “Amadou Mamadou” from Burkina Faso. I am prepared to embark on a scavenger hunt for him. He should still be living somewhere around Heidelberg. I WILL find him, and greet him with the ever satisfying:

“Who? Amadou Mamadou! How you do? Kickin it Old School?”

THE LINE: Burkina Faso+1 Goal

Editor’s retroactive notes:

Ever have the urge to post on the “missed connections” section of Craig’s List?

Ivory Coast v. Guinea


Everyone chill. Our Ivory Coast Superstars will be on the pitch! Drogba, Eboué, Kalou, Kone, Sanogo, Keita, Koné, and Yaya Touré will be there! So will Viera, Demel, Boka, Zokara, Cissé, and Kolo Touré. This is the most talented African squad I and most everyone else has ever seen! They have such potential to be the African superheroes! You’ve got to believe!

THE LINE: Cote d’Ivoire+1 Goal


Ghana v. Mali


Another meaningless match to round things out. By the time this one kicks off, it is my hope that your three African teams will be: Cameroon, Nigeria, and Egypt. (Even though Egyptians are repulsive; the men anyway. Hey Egyptian girls, want to try a Western man? I don’t care if you’re a virgin. I’ll treat you right regardless!

THE LINE: Ghana+2 Goals

Editor’s retroactive notes:
See commentary above.

Final Qualifying Matches—Inter-Continental Playoffs!


Bahrain v. New Zealand


These two drew in the first leg of their aggregate playoffs. The score ended nil-nil and I, thankfully, remembered to bring something interesting to read before sitting down to watch that feeble excuse for a game! For those of you who, after 7 ½ years, still think you can make money off me, I’d like to throw you a bone. In this match I’m betting with my heart and not my head. I hate New Zealand! The “All Whites” can kiss me on the all white. They may have more talented players, but I don’t root for British Colonies on whose teams no natives play! Bahrain forever! In a stunning turn of events, I back the Arabs! Take advantage of me…..if you dare!

THE LINE: Bahrain+1 Goal


Uruguay v. Costa Rica


Here we have the CONCACAF/COMNEBUL Playoff. Do take note that from this point forward, ALL BETTING LINES ARE SCORED ON THE AGGREGATE. To clarify that briefly: All further matchups will consist of TWO GAMES. Therefore, the bet to be placed will be on the AGGREGATE number of goals. This is the reason you see “Saturday/Wednesday” in the header above. Clear, everyone? Good. Time to settle in for some exciting playoffs! As you may recall, in the last edition of the sportsbook, I struggled to come up with something original to say about Uruguay. The best I could muster was some asinine alliteration: “Montevideo Madness”. Over the past four weeks, I’ve managed to recall a Simpsons episode in which Homer pronounced Uruguay, “You are gay”.

The episode in question is entitled “Bart vs. Australia” and was produced by the most exceptionally gifted writers during the show’s peak (seasons 4-8). I strongly recommend you watch (or re-watch) this episode, which I will unabashedly place in my Simpson’s top ten. This installment has it all: Hitler in Argentina, Homer at the State Department, El Salvadorian military suicides, and Australian judicial procedure. An episode such as this one will serve as a perfect reminder why you watch “The Simpsons”. After 20 years, it is still practically the smartest show ever produced; the penultimate American parody! Maybe you are somewhat disparaged by the show’s recent decline. This episode will remind you what it’s all about!

Good. Now that we have that out of the way, the people of Uruguay are actually not “gay”. They will, in fact, demoralize their central American Isthmus rivals.

THE LINE: Uruguay+2 Goals (on aggregate)

The Final Qualifying Matches—UEFA

I must suppress my innate yearning to sing the European National Anthem. That should be quite easy as there is NO European National Anthem. The EU Constitution initially called for Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” to be the national anthem of Europe. After French and Dutch voters overwhelmingly rejected the constitution, such blatantly integrationist Power Bloc Measures were scrapped. Lisbon is now the governing treaty of the European Union. The document contains no reference to a new flag, anthem, conservative cable news channel, or anything else that may be considered the hallmark of an ultra nationalistic Super state. It occurs to me that I might have been disproportionately hard on Europe in my last edition of the Sportsbook. I referred to it as a “patchwork quit of medieval fiefdoms”, “an army of technocrats squabbling over milk subsidies”, and a place of “bizarre micro states galore!”

All of this is good fun. Yet, I should point out that we softly satirize the ones we love most. J Europe, in spite of all the quirkiness, is a project that has revealed to mankind one of the most imperative lessons we must learn as a species. I speak, of course, of the ability to obviate the need for war. Spreading the wealth around and delegating the nuances power has brought a period of unprecedented calm to the world’s most historically violent continent. You’re welcome to point out the ISAF troops, the Balkan wars, and Pipeline Politics. These are topics I cannot easily defend against. I do know, however, that the entire Second World collapsed in Europe with nary a drop of blood spilled. If you wish to talk of the big anniversary, mention that the Soviet Union disappeared in a nearly bloodless coup. The Romanians notwithstanding, workers from Minsk to Gdansk laid down the sickle without the need for “Kangaroo Courts.” The reason for this was the existence of institutional apparatuses that held the promise of a more organized future. There may be an up swelling of Socialist nostalgia, but I’m confident this is nothing democracy can’t solve. Even Lafontaine will have to eventually face the wrath of discontented voters.  Before moving on the UEFA Playoffs, let us clink the glasses and toast to Lisbon. Let’s Go Europe!


Russia v. Slovenia


Hahahahah. This is a script Tolstoy couldn’t have written. The first “Yugoslav Breakaway Republic” vs. “Mother Russia”?!? The EU’s Golden Child vs. the Soviet Menace? The Slovene performance will mirror their turn at the EU rotating Presidency: Hopeful at the beginning, embarrassing by the second half. Pavulyuchenko, Arshavin, Kerzakhov, Pogrebnyak, and Zhirkoz will make it to the cape. Break open the Vodka now.

THE LINE: Russia+3 Goals (on aggregate)

Greece v. Ukraine


Something occurred to me as I was watching Viktor Yushchenko’s 47th appearance at the Council on Foreign Relations over the past two years. In point of fact, many things occurred to me, but I’ll get to them later. I believe the overriding emotion was one of vexation. Since the Orange Revolution, we have been pressured into hanging on every word of Viktor, Julia, and Yanukovich. I suppose my question is this:

“Why the fuck must we care so much about these useless people?”

Perhaps Vaclav has good reason to be paranoid about me. I’m frankly sick of every fifth article in “Foreign Affairs” being about the Ukrainians. I just don’t care anymore. These people have the most dysfunctional government this side of Pakistan! They have no industry. They can’t pay the gas bill! They’re always first in line for an IMF Bailout! The so-called “Orange Revolution” was nothing more than a flock of guys looking for free food. I’m through caring about these worthless wastes of space. I don’t want you in NATO. I’ll be damned if you even think about joining my EU. I am not on the lookout for some more fertile “Lebensraum”; I merely think your entire country is a sad joke! Will you fucking disappear, please! The international community has been taking you seriously long enough. I’m signing the “Basta!” Petition. Go home to a bathtub full of dioxin for all I care. Just get out of my journals! I have some lucid rules I wish for Yushchenko to follow before his 48th Council of Foreign Relations Session:

1) The CFR moderator must not announce that President Yushchenko “will speak for 15 minutes before we take 45 minutes for Q & A”--- Yushchenko has no idea how to speak for 15 minutes! The pockmarked bastard goes on and on and on. I can’t remember a CFR Session in which we got more than two questions off and, of course, he deflected both.

2) Yuschchenko must get a new interpreter---I’m not pissed about the interpreter pronouncing “Renaissance”, “Ren-AY-Sance”. I will not nitpick over the pronunciation “missiles”, “MEE-siles”. I have a father who makes Arnold look like Lincoln. I’m not a diction snob. Nevertheless, I do not think we are getting the complete translation. Yushchenko drops 36 six backwards Rs a minute and you give me two sentences! Yes, it is a hard craft, but how different is the Ukrainian dialect from Russian? Russian interpreters never seem to miss a beat.

3) Yushchenko must stop trying to make me care about Naval infractions--- I get it. There were some interdiction incidents. When will you answer the question about Europe bailing you out?

4) I never want to hear another word about the NATO referendum!—Polls show, you have no chance of gaining approval. Ditto for EU Membership. The only solution is to divide your country in two, ala King Solomon. We are cool with that in Europe. We split countries in two every Wednesday afternoon, right after Tea and Badminton. Another country. Bring it on at this point! You can’t possibly fragment us any more. Call yourself “West Ukraine” and let’s go get some Schnitzel.

THE LINE: Greece + 3 Goals (on aggregate)

Ireland v. France


The “luck of the draw” pits two of my favorite teams against one another. I’ve paced around on this one. I’ve smoked two cigarettes at once. I’ve gone back and forth more than Tim McCarver after the game. On the one hand, a WM without the French is like a Bachelor Party without hookers. We simply must have our Henry, Gallas, Gouvou, Anelka, Riberry, Benzema, Evra, Abidal….I could prattle on all night! I’m also deeply concerned about the staff at “France Telecom”. France already tops the global suicide rate list. In the past three months, 23 employees have decided that corporate restructuring is too much for them and hurled themselves out the window! How horrible! Imagine what will happen if France loses, the Peugeot Factories close down, Germans stop purchasing plots for nuclear waste, and no French citizen can download pirated music anymore. I don’t want blood on my hands!

On the other hand, I have such deep affection for my Irishmen. The French will always have the number 1 suicide rate. “Life is Shit” ought to be the French motto. They wear depression like a red badge of courage. As for the disgruntled office workers….give them a 35-hour workweek and they still take their own lives! There is simply no saving some people. Sorry froggy, but I have to stand behind the boys. Conceivably, my support of the Irish is buttressed by one crucial longing: I DO NOT WANT GIOVANI TRAPATONNI TO GO AWAY!!!! The “Flasche leer” coach must be part of this WM!

If you don’t know who Giovanni Trapatonni is, allow me to introduce you to the best German poet since Heine. We call him “Flasche leer” to commemorate the time he described his Bayern Munich squad as having played like “empty bottles”. This man has been desecrating the German language for so long he makes my old roommate Niko look like Friedrich fucking Schiller. Yes, yes. I know. 98% of syndicate members do not speak German. It is not my intention to show off. Rather, I wish to enthuse ALL English speakers of the opportunity to witness this man destroy the English language! His audacity when trying to speak a foreign language is so marvelous. Now that he is the coach of the Irish team, the possibilities are endless. I promise you won’t regret it! Here are some of the greatest hits

<> Trapatonni talks smack against the French. You will DIE laughing at this one.

<> Trapatonni goes nuts on Bayern! The infamous “Flasche Leer” Press Conference! Spanish subtitles provided!

<> A wonderful compilation of Trapatonni. English subtitles provided!

<> Here he is after Ireland’s defeat to Serbia! The infamous Bayern Press Conference, with complete English subtitles!

The five clips I’ve posted comprise roughly 1/200th of the Trapatonni Collection I am presently assembling on You Tube. I trust these samples are enough to get most of you on board. We need the Insane Italian Maestro to be part of our WM! Without him, we are mere “empty bottles”

THE LINE: IRELAND+1 Goal (on aggregate)

Editor’s retroactive notes:
France prevailed after a blatant Henry handball in the box. Les Bleus ultimately paid the price for this inexcusable cheat by imploding in embarrassing fashion in front of the entire world seven months later. Two years later our Trapatonni deprivation finally comes to a close. Heeeeeeeeeee’s back. J

Portugal v. Bosnia-Herzegovina


Pop open the Port. Ronaldo, Deco and Co. are headed to South Africa. This was the luckiest draw at the lottery. Start celebrating Portos. I was worried about you for a while. J

THE LINE: Portugal+4 Goals (on aggregate)


ALL BETS DUE BEFORE 8:00 a.m., Eastern Standard Time