Monday, April 30, 2012

WMQ 2009--Syndicate with A Vengeance

WMQ 2009

Editor’s retroactive notes:

A bookie, loquacious or not, ordinarily has but one cardinal rule to obey: DO NOT CALL ATTENTION TO YOUR BETTING SYNDICATE. The hitherto furtive dissemination of betting lines via private e-mail was done partly out of concern that a technical illegal activity, in spite of its diminutive size and playful tone, might somehow garner the wrong sort of attention. Other factors contributing to this reasoning included trademark reticence, a prevalent aversion to the label “blogger”, and….yes…a modest conspiracy to bilk out guaranteed earnings by sending different lines to different recipients. LL Apologies. I reiterate that I’ve never earned four figures from this little venture, and immediately give it all back in the form of tasteful gifts, tasty liquor, and tasteless entertainment.

This whirlwind tour of the late 2009 Qualifying Stages would change the Summer Sportsbook forever. For the first time Syndicate members (and non-Syndicate members who found themselves pathetically short of other things to do) could view the first ever “-universal” composition on my profile. Facebook remains infinitely better than Myspace, if only because one receives half as many solicitations from Web Cam Girls and random losers who want you to check out their shitty garage band. Once one plugs into the intricate organism known as “The Faceborg”, the exciting interpersonal connective possibilities are endless. For instance, one can “like” Campbell’s Soup. Yeah. I like canned soup. Now everyone knows that I like canned soup. Out in the ether, to the farthest reaches of our universe, it has been established. I LIKE ME SOME MOTHERFUCKIN CANNED SOUP!!! Now that this has been recorded for posterity, the cosmos may continue to expand.

Anyone auguring the demise of Facebook doesn't understand the basic cognitive functionality of the human race. We are by default a lazy sloth-like being prone to procrastination and programmed to beseech the heavens with an emphatic proclamation of “I EXIST. I EXIST. PLEASE LET THIS MEAN SOMETHING!” at least twice daily. When no reply is forthcoming, we hunker down and find ways to distract ourselves before mortality ultimately claims us. What better outlet than one that appeals to our lethargy, delaying, and inflated sense of self worth? Our inherent laziness means no one is accepting that LinkedIn or Four Square invitation. Our love of procrastination means we cannot begin to work until we post something trivial that will reap consistent “pings” of response throughout the day. Finally, our need to imbue our lives with something resembling meaning leads to all of those somber political posts, philosophical quotations, and links to erudite articles only half read.

For some an occasional drunken rant or a sincere note to a long forgotten friend proves sufficient. Others will never accrue enough attention. When the hit ticker for “KONY 2012” gradually subsides, it’s time to go masturbate in public. When no one comments on your post, time to directly insult your digital acquaintances with something preposterously provocative to the extent of “Jesus loves me more!!” Everyone knows the guy who boasts of his 900+ assembled friends. Everyone knows at least a dozen insecure attention-starved girls who post thirty times a day lest they go a few minutes without a “someone’s paying attention to you” ping. Beyond all the sarcasm, one may still trade quality riffs with sharp wits on Facebook. Plenty of traffic consists of nothing more than farcical mini-contests to see who can devise the best line. Vicey likey J As of October 2009, you can also follow and join the syndicate.

To be perfectly candid, adding my torrent of rubbish to the polluted ocean of garbage never came close to a fear-inducing experience. I knew better than to anticipate that either the Feds or the Haters would take notice. Sacrificing my anonymity was rendered moot by the sheer enormity of crap out there on the web. The taxmen would have to expend so much manpower to discover that…gasp…I ran a small betting syndicate with close friends and owe $11.79 in back taxes! I’ve a healthy view of my own insignificance, and it enables me to spin freely without fear. Below I ruthlessly mock the hypocritical government that outlaws friendly gambling while sanctioning poverty siphons like Casinos, Video Poker, and the Lottery. To further emphasize my lack of concern, I wish to remind anyone from the government skimming through of three basic facts. First, you’re a worthless overpaid sack-of-shit. Next, I could do your job in half the time it takes your bumbling fat ass. Finally, I had sex with your mother last night. She says hi.

Never sorry. Never scared. Now get back to your online Master’s Course, piggy. J             

 For those of you reading this on Facebook (that is, er… “all of the both of you”), there is a certain piece of early 1990s codified congressional legislation that I’d like to call your attention to. I ask the two of you to be quite fastidious in your reading of 26 USC 3701, otherwise known as the “Amateur and Professional Sports Protection Act of 1992” The law clearly stipulates that is illegal for:

“a person to sponsor, operate, advertise, promote, pursuant to the law or compact of a government entity, a lottery, sweepstakes, or other betting, gambling, or wagering scheme based, directly or indirectly (through the use of geographical references or otherwise), on one or more competitive games in which amateur or professional athletes participate, or are intended to participate, or on one or more performances of such athletes in such games”

Got that? Betting on carbon-based life forms descended from apes is illegal in this country! You can encourage a culture of mass-euthanasia for all the gimped-up racehorses and washed-up greyhounds you care to, but even friendly bookkeeping or an office pool is a serious crime. (Except in Nevada, Delaware, Oregon, or Montana). Mathematically inclined Jersey Rabbis and Seedy Louisiana Opportunists are among the groups absolutely NOT allowed to partake in sports betting!! The U.S. Congress has seen fit to pass this not-at-all shallowly symbolic or vote-pandering piece of critical national legislation. As a lifelong C-Span addict, I may attest to the fact that the United States Congress ALWAYS prioritizes the most pertinent issues, never succumbing to the urge to pass cosmetic, pedantic, or uncontroversial laws immediately before an election. Nearly every day of my natural life, it has been my great pleasure to observe, via the Cable Satellite Public Affairs Network, the truly awe-inspiring the work of our democratically elected representatives; the eloquent, informed, and coherent questions they pose in subcommittee, the erudite and logically impeccable charts they present on the Senate floor, their commitment to actually read and understand pieces of legislation they vote on rather than their respective party’s pre-fabricated talking points that have little or nothing to do with the actual text of the bill, and, lastly, their fearless vow to eschew political posturing and grandstanding in favor of poignant analysis and commentary whenever they rise to speak!
To summarize, there is simply no second-guessing our sagacious and infinitely competent Congress. As is the case with any institution, we need not have actually studied anywhere else to proudly proclaim that America has the best in the world! In honor of these venerable bastions of bicameral democracy, I kindly ask you to refrain from any thoughts of placing sports bets or calling a bookie as you read these pages. Purge any such speculation from your mind using your best cognitive vectors. Before you double down, doublethink! And now, we are pleased to present:

“Vicey’s Entirely non-Sportsbook Related Completely Experimental [Mr. Holder, I swear I do not endorse Gambling!!!] FIFA-Bloglike Word Assemblage…..That has Absolutely Nothing to do with Point Spreads”
Should you find yourself driven by a compulsion to spend your hard earned money, might I suggest a highly worked U.K. based charity:

Because every kid deserves a football to kick around!
The world’s game is unique in that nearly anyone can participate. I will not allow you to forget this!

Editor’s retroactive notes:

Bring it on bitches! When this was written in October 2009, congressional approval ratings were still hovering around 25%. At present, our elected national representatives enjoy the favor of 9%. One hesitates to beat up on such a soft target, but as I type these words they feign outrage over a $75,000 GSA Team-Building Workshop at the Las Vegas Conference. “It’s not your money,” the self-satisfied smug assholes posture during the congressional hearings, “”It’s the taxpayer’s money!” Hmmm…well considering the taxpayer’s money also finances your $400,000+ annual salary, all of your travel costs, constituent printing/postage, single-payer health plan, overhead office/staffing costs, wardrobe, food, and subsidized housing this is one individual you’ve failed to impress. In short, you pay for NOTHING (including your re-election campaign) and get a nice healthy salary on top of it. I think it’s about time you shut the fuck up. SHUT THE FUCK UP. Christ, I can think of no more useless government job badly in need of oversight than your own. Kill yourself. Seriously. Take a bullet to the temple. Your honor, I’ve just completed my opening statement. JJ

On a less spiteful note, Alive and Kicking remains my favorite global charity. If there’s anything left in the coffer after your regular and (in my humble opinion) essential donation to Amnesty International, consider helping a kid get a football, one manufactured by a local co-opts that provide micro-economic stimulus to regions with little other than brutal diamond mining jobs.       

INTRO-The Countdown Begins

If you live in the states, chances are you’re eagerly anticipating the top-25 matches of this weekend’s college football season. Perhaps you are longingly awaiting the Sunday NFL games. Maybe you’re even one of those peculiar specimens getting ready for the baseball playoffs Do permit me to proudly trumpet my allegiances: Ahem…Go Tigers! Go Saints! Go Phillies. This aside, if you happen to be a foreigner or a disaffected State School Grad such as myself, perhaps you find yourself idly daydreaming about a sport that features less commercials, far fewer “Geaux Vitter” tailgate stickers, and the potential for endless poor taste jokes that ruthlessly leave no person’s deep-rooted sense of personal ethnic identity unassailed. That’s right! Only 243 days to South Africa 2010 and I’m bloody well declaring an early opening to book season.

In the past this has been more of a biennial novelty (WM 2002, EM 2004,WM 2006, EM 2008). Moreover, we’ve kept it as a closed circuit, fight-club mentality sort of thing. This time around, I simply refuse to stand pat while this summer’s resurgent American interest in soccer wilts quicker than the Course Outline portion of a poorly conceived Syllabus! After the Americans surprising humbling of Villa and Co. during the Confed Cup, I’m suddenly witnessing mates who never had any interest before droppin’ transfer market predictions, reciting the Premiership table, accepting video-game FIFA Challenges and (yes) even signing up to set foot on the pitch! This newfound intrigue must not be squandered. Americans, within the next five days, you’ll get a chance to see your heavily-favored team pummel some softie CONCACAF opponents…TWICE. Enjoy it while it lasts, as you’re only lined up for more disappointment next summer. J  Or do you wish to retort?

As the global qualifying campaign comes to a close, there are some damn fine fixtures to be played over the next week. With Euro Club season firmly underway, the world’s best players are in good form and prepped to lead their countries down the decisive stretch. ESPN will cater to stateside fans, Fox Soccer Channel (as usual) will do a great job of providing some mediocre coverage, and the rest of the games will afford you the chance to brush up on your Spanish via Galavision, Telemundo, etc.

Are you remembering the neediest?

First, a welcome to those nations we will definitely see in South Africa:


Timmy Cahill and the boys are assured of a place in King Zuma’s court. We, in turn, are assured of at least 2,473 immensely annoying references to the Aussie’s as “The Socceroos” Seriously, how does a country with such a great reputation for badass sports assign itself such an incredibly fucking stupid nickname. I must know!!


Too bad they’re not hosting this year. Hatoyama, Ozawa, and all the poorly connected DPJ newbies could stand to benefit from a “Merkel Moment”. An affectionate welcome back for the beloved “Blue Samurai” (THAT is a nickname) and an admiring salute to the indisputably goofiest people on the planet! Seriously, I do love these people. Here are
Three reasons to be categorically ecstatic that Japan is in the WM (and, NO, you perverted jackasses, none of them have with precocious schoolgirls, WOWOW-TV, or tentacles!)
1. Japanese announcers—If you thought the guys who wrote the programming code for “Marvel vs. Capcom 2” were doing their utmost to induce a seizure with the 5,637,662-hit combo, listen to these cats:

I wish, I wish….that I could have found some WM 2006 Japanese announcers! That Oliver Neuville goal against Poland was priceless. Why can I not receive the NHK feed on my basic cable package? WHY????

Hello hemorrhaging aneurisms for all!

2. Empress Michiko in the stands! Naturally, one may assume she’ll call in sick as usual. Nevertheless, the opportunity to witness the porcelain empress never fails to stir that deep anticipatory excitement! This may be the year I finally witness her shift her elbow, budge her arms shift or even blink! (I have a long running wager with a friend on whether or not she is, in fact, a robot.) I will recoup that $20!! This brings us to……..

3. ROBOTS!!!!!! Colbert fans unite; these automatons pose a serious threat to the beautiful game. As many of you are already aware, the RoboCup Community has tasked itself with the ambitious goal of pitting a humanoid robot team against the World Champions in 2050. Keep a lookout for some steely-eyed Toshiba Goons in the stands! Be vigilant for they must be stopped! If a technological feat such as this really is possible, let’s hope the 2050 Champs are the Italians.

“Owa!! Me-a so-a dramatic!! Mr. Roboto graze-a my shins and now I’m cryin’ like a bambino! Ahimé! Ahimé! Madonna mia! Pain-a so-a bad-a! Give-a him da Red Card”

Goddamn floppin wops L

South KoreaSouth Korea

Oh yes. Yes sir. Together with the Spaniards and the Japs, there will be no shortage of eye-candy in the stands for the male viewing contingent! The triumvirate of gorgeous hotties is already in! One might even call the Korean girls the Jefferson of the “Mount Rushmore of Babes. The Spaniards are my Roosevelts. I’m just not cool enough. Besides that, I can’t dance. The Japs are my Washington. They will dump you quicker than you can day ”Snow Falling on Peter”. Oh well. Other than reasons that make me appear to be a very “dirty old man”, here are four reasons, why I’m psyched about the Koreans:

1. The drum section of the “Tigers of Asia”. If you haven’t heard this fan club yet, you’re in for a treat!

2. In poor forlorn Kaiserslautern, you simply have to love a team with the nickname “Red Devils”….er with the possible exception of the loathed ManU

3. The Koreans got completely gypped by those microstate cheese yodelers known as the Swiss in the 2006 WM. They were polite to the Ref and everything!! Fucking useless Swiss.

4. ManU’s Ji-Sung Park ready to kick some ass while Park Chu Young is poised to tear up the scene (Chan-Ho Park is still bothered by a hamstring). Lee Chun-Yong of Bolton Wanders is an intriguing prospect while Lee Dong-Gook (tearin’ up the K league) and Lee Young Pyo are back for more! In addition, we’ve got Lee Keun Ho, Lee Chung-Yong, Lee Jung Soo, AND Lee Woon-Jae called up? How about that? Kim Young Kwang, Kim Dong-Jin, Kim Hyung-Il, and Kim Jung-Woo are ready to play!!
(Okay…love my Koreans. Still waiting to meet one that does not have Jong, Hong, Park, Kim, or Lee in their name. Also, is anyone NOT from Seoul? I’m looking forward to meeting you!

Go see Park Chan-wook’s latest epic “Thirst”. I mean, GO RIGHT NOW! If you loved “Oldboy”,  “Sympathy for Lady Vengeance” and “I’m a Cyborg, but that’s Okay”, you’ve not a moment to lose! The Koreans are the ONLY ones left that can still do artful horror.

Korea DPR
North Korea

You’re not high; the North Koreans will be playing in the 2010 WM! (Okay, you might still possibly be high). And you thought that recent conciliatory tone had something to do with Clinton’s visit, Kim Il-Sung getting caught in Macau, the Taepodong dud, or Resolution 1874?!? Hahahahaha. Don’t be so naïve! Ask yourself, when did North Korea stop prattling on about “silly ladies” and start indicating willingness to get back to the table? Football is serious business; the ultimate “sunshine policy”. “Football Diplomacy” is more than just a phrase concocted by all-too clever wordsmiths working for the Economist when it comes time to write the umpteenth article on Turkish-Armenian Relations. It’s Real! One almost wishes the South Koreans hadn’t dispatched our green-clad Iranians. L The fact is, the chances of an international incident are greatly decreased with the two Koreas playing in this tournament together for the first time. Someone should inform John Bolton of this. Someone should also inform him that he is a douche bag. Hey Johnny, just because you know 19.74% constitutes weapons-grade uranium enrichment doesn’t make you a prophet you worthless mustachioed fucktard! Don’t try to hide behind your extensive knowledge of non-proliferation jargon. You remain nothing more than a combative Cassandra with mediocre writing ability and below-average talent for logical coherence. Someone punch this useless Mark Twain wannabe in any one of his three chins!

How about joining a good cause, then?

Editor’s retroactive notes:

Three years and one fresh young demagogue later, they STILL can’t launch an intercontinental Taepodong. The latest effort blew up in Stage One before it could ever splash down. Frankly, it’s inconsolably frustrating to watch former Kremlinologists insist that Rouge States like North Korea or Iran present us with significant security challenges. These regimes are jokes! Get a blasted life, Johnny boy…right after you shave off that hideous moustache, drop a few pregnancy pounds, and bring in some unpaid interns with the minimal capacity to translate your anachronistic brain farts into mildly intelligible written arguments.


Congratulations to the Gold Coast Republic on what has been a spectacular year! Note to Cote d’Ivoire: Now that you’ve been independent for some years, perhaps you might consider ditching the name of your oppressive colonial exploiters? Aesthetically, it rings somewhat cruel to name a country after an export that has caused so much suffering. Should we also call Congo “Rubberland”, Guinea “The People’s Republic of Bauxite”, and South Africa “The DeBeers Confederation”??

Returning to Ghana, this country has surged up of the Rotberg, Ibrahim, and the HDI Indexes! In addition to progress in alleviating poverty, Ghana has, over the past year, replaced Kenya as Africa’s model for stability and good governance. The new administration acknowledged as much, scheduling Ghana as Obama’s first (and as of yet only) African stop.

So what do we have to look forward to on the pitch? Michael Essien for starters. Haven’t seem nearly enough of him on a packed “Chelski” Squad this season. My boys from  da “Dorf” (TSG Hoffenheim) Tagoe and Vorsah should also be available! I’m also looking forward to the first cross directed at striker Junior Agogo. “He’s going for Agogo!”  
I owe the Ghanaians a great debt of gratitude. U.S. Fans might recall the vast sums of money I snatched from your prideful purses after that 2-1 defeat in 2006. Hehehe.
Let’s do it again boys!

Editor’s retroactive notes:

To revive one of the original text’s main thrusts, go see “An African Election”. I mean go right now. Exclusive interviews with Jerry Rawlings, John Atta-Mills, John Kufor and oh so much more. You won’t be sorry.

South Africa (A.K.A. Bafana, Bafana)
South Africa

Am I the only looking forward to the incessant buzzing of the Vuvuzelas? Probably. Actually, I find them as irritating as anyone else, but I’m willing to tune them out and relish the moment. Next summer will constitute the first all-inclusive triumph for this nation; a host squad that can be cheered from the slums of Soweto to the Cape Town Golf & Racquet Club. This is no International Rugby or Cricket Championship. This is football! Still a long way to go for this country. The ANC is plagued by corruption, an inadequate political platform and a dearth of good leadership. Those companies responsible for constructing those gleaming new stadiums still could stand to pay their workers a reasonable living wage. AIDS, wealth disparities, and ineffective AU presence…the list goes on and on. Let’s strive not to get depressed, though, and welcome this glorious emerging nation to the domain of international football, while being grateful that we get to hear the name “Siphiwe Tschabalala”. “Tschabalala has two to beat, Tschabalala into the area, Tschabalala tries his luck! Tschabalala!!”


A warm welcome to the Albirroja! Other than this embrace, and perhaps a lewd reference to Fernando Lugo’s sexual escapes when he was still a Catholic Priest, I have nothing to say about Paraguay! (Wow. I could hear the collective sigh of relief from here)

Editor’s retroactive notes:

Fernando Lugo jokes were officially retired after what seemed like 50 readers wrote in to complain that this reference was too wonkish. Is it really too much to ask that you either ignore or quickly google a mention you’re not familiar with before writing me a 2,000 word self-pity retort that begins with what a pretentious self-aggrandizing smug know-it-all I purport to be and concludes with your best attempts to be a pretentious self-aggrandizing smug know-it-all yourself? Look, I know we’re wired to immediately panic upon discovering that someone else happens to know some random useless factoid. This wakes up our instinctual competitive sector, predominantly driven by our own insecure ego. Corrections and intelligent debates are always welcome, but this “nyah-nyah-boo-boo” shit over trivial information of no practical use to anyone is so childish one sometimes wonders if there are any adults left. No interest in competing with anyone but myself. Absolutely none. My insecurities are MY problem and no one else’s. I’m wrong often. There’s plenty I know nothing about. Can everyone simply deal with their own puerile sense of inferiority and leave each other in peace? Aren’t we ultimately competing with one another to determine who’s the tallest Leprechaun?


Alright. 2014 World Cup, hang around for the 2016 Olympics New oil discoveries and a diverse pan-continental regional integration project run by master juggler Lula! Is there anything wrong with Brazil right now? Oh right, the favelas…and the fact that they can’t seem to get Zelaya off the couch. Fucking bastard promised he’d have a new job and place by now. Listen, Manuel, I’m giving you one more week, then I’m sending my old roomie ---- after you. He is quite adept at getting rid of “couchsurfers”. You said you’d have your own palace by now! Plus, you borrowed our socks without asking, ate the last (Brazilian dish) in the fridge, and smeared your mustache greaser all over the bathroom. Not to mention the Cowboy Hats! We said you could be the “Guy on the Couch” for a couple of weeks, but enough is enough!

I kid my beloved Brazilians. Great to have the powerhouse favorites on board! Try not to call anyone fat this time Lula and…er…perhaps you could find a role for Ronaldinho. Waterboy maybe?

(P.S. Go See “Favela Rising”. I mean go see it RIGHT NOW)

Editor’s retroactive notes:

As augured, Dilma Rouseff’s poll numbers spiked up once the World Cup began and nationalist fervor gripped the nation. Brazil exited the global recession quicker than any other country and the Bolsa Familia Program continues to lift thousands out of generational poverty. Matters in Honduras stabilized with the election of consensus candidate Perfidio Lobo and the eventual readmission of Zelaya. Hey, it’s always sunny in South and Central America! Even Chavez looks to either die or lose, possibly both. Looking forward to the 2013 Confed Cup! 


Viva l’espana!! Viva La Furia Roja El fútbol es el deporte que más emociona a los españolos! Okay, I apologize for my terrible Spanish, but, as you can see, I’m downright sexually excited to have the Spaniards in on this..........and for good reason! Tune into any La Liga game and you will see more scorching senoritas than any other league in Europe (including the Serie A!) This is a blessing for us all. I only hope that Zapatero does not intend to skew the “hotness” ratio in the stands by bringing along his two rotund Goth daughters:

Ahhhhhhhhhh!!!!! I should have forewarned you. Once you see that image, there is simply no way to “unsee” it. It will remain seared in your retina and subconscious. I had several nightmares involving them last night. Presumably, these girls will be standing there waiting for my as I arrive at the smoking gates of my own personal hell. On the topic of me going to hell (my bags are packed, ticket in hand), go ahead and check out my comments on the Spain v. Armenia match if you haven’t been offended yet.

I swear I’m not the Antichrist:

Editor’s retroactive notes:

Though I’m unable to verify via any recent pictures, it seems reasonable to assume that those girls have thinned out and dropped the satin bedsheets. A Goth PHASE, is permissible ladies. At some point you must emerge from the battle with your whinny soul and hit the treadmill.


Can you conceive of a world championship without the Brilliant Orange? I certainly do not care to. I’m having a hard enough time as it is getting used to a UEFA Champion’s League without either PSV Eindhoven or the Ajax Jews. What would a football tournie be without van Persie and van der Sar? I want to see van der Vaart and van der Wiel, and van Bronckhorst! I also want van Nistelrooy back! I want to watch Mario van Peebles movies while eating van Camps Pork and Beans! All right, my tired joke about the remnants of the Flemish aristocracy is running thinner than an “Icesave” investment account. Damn. Guess I’ll have to talk about the brilliance of Liverpool’s Dirk Kuyt or Everton’s John Heitinga. Very talented bunch this year. Still, I can think of no other country where the aristocratic designation is still so prevalent. One meets few Germans with the “von” prefix. Er…that is other than current Wirtschaftsminister:

Karl-Theodor Maria Nikolaus Johann Jacob Philipp Franz Joseph Sylvester Freiherr von und zu Guttenberg

Yikes! I thought the Bundesverfassungsgericht clearly outlawed more than five names!

Editor’s retroactive notes:

Care to know how zu Guttenberg farmed out his Bayreuth Doctoral Thesis? This Shadow Scholar can take you deep into the dark underworld dungeon of the Ivory Tower. Children of Privilege often see their education as a mere credentialing formality. Their namesake essentially guarantees a successful professional career. They recognize very early on that a glamorous life waits for them outside the gates with the motor running. It is such they devote their university years to networking, high-profile internships, and early political cliquing. A ghostwriter can expect to contract with a member of the credentializing elite sometimes a full year before anything is due to be defended. While middle class students earnestly try to do their own work before commissioning a ghost in the final weeks, those self-entitles with no intention of letting the grunt work of the lower classes slow them down will proactively delegate their work.

“The Bayreuth Job” was only exposed after the ghost blatantly plagiarized large swaths of the dissertation, successfully throwing off the departmental review committee with the infantile trick of switching the citations so as to incorrectly attribute the sources. It’s entirely possible that this simple chicanery wasn’t even necessary, as Bayreuth and its lax faculty have accepted more faulty theses than any other German university. How widespread is academic ghostwriting? I may speculate based on my own experience. Elite institutions such as Bayreuth are verifiable hubs. Nevertheless, the actual scope of the practice remains impossible to quantify. Professional ghosts do not plagiarize and leave no tracks behind. Consider how many public figures actually write their own books. Extrapolate that ratio to the hordes who aspire to be a public figure; be they a college athlete, a student council member, a trust-fund baby, or a budding mass-com media darling. We haven’t even addressed those who are legitimately exhausted and must subcontract a small portion of their obligations in order to complete their postgraduate education.

To bring this aside to some sort of conclusion, don’t feed me pedantic platitudes about upward social mobility through expensive education. The upper class cheats its way through right under your clueless noses. Furthermore, take your ideals about the academic meritocracy and shove it directly up your delusional ass. Every morning in every country, Shadow Scholars arise and proceed to work the Dark Side. As incomplete as my knowledge of any academic’s prolific career may be, the full truth behind the scheme lies in the Shadows. One of the hundreds of thousands of men and women behind the curtain cordially invites you to run with him in the Shadows sometime. We’ll smack whatever idealism remains in you before you can say, “I deserve tenure more than my office mate.”  


The dismal failure to qualify for Euro 2008 is forgotten! Sven Goran Eriksson got his old job as a cashier at Ikea back! Fabio Capella looks awesome in those snazzy specs! ESPN is televising the Premiership! God Save the Queen! The English are back, and we get to gape at how the “entity” known as Peter Crouch is somehow anatomically viable. Seriously, whenever I watch my Spurs I am forced to admit I have no idea how Peter Crouch manages to have functioning internal organs. The man is a fucking freak of nature, and plays like one too! Looking forward to seeing him revive the robot dance after several England victories. “Football’s comin' home!”

Er…go see “In the Loop”. I mean RIGHT NOW!

An Open Letter to Brian Lamb:

Most esteemed creator of C-Span,

It is with a heavy heart that I write you, one of my personal heroes, this afternoon. You decision to no longer broadcast Prime Minister’s Questions has me, quite frankly, feeling as if I’ve been betrayed by a long time lover. I grew up comforted by the spunky antics of Tony Blair and John Major. I was simply not complete without the raving non-entities known as William Hague and Ian Duncan Smith! How can you deprive me of Bumbling Brown and Calamitous Cameron? My right honorable friend, I feel abandoned. At least when an actual girlfriend broke my heart I could watch C-Span. Now where do I turn? The Downing Street Website? It’s not the same! Sir, until you finally get around to launching C-Span International, consider our friendship on hiatus! I’m even contemplating getting a real life!


Peter J. Weis

Editor’s retroactive notes:

Lamb capitulated. I’d like to think this letter had something to do with it. Right. I also like to think I have about three more inches of meat downstairs. Thanks to the invention of DVRs, I no longer have to wake up at 6:30 a.m. to watch it live. I still do of course, after the booze wears off. 

Qualifying Preview---Asia and Oceania

Bahrain knocked off Saudi Arabia (finally someone did) and now has to face the “All Whites” of New Zealand. If all you know about New Zealand is “Didn’t they film Lord of the Rings there?”…you’re right. If you have some semblance of a soul, you’re pulling for Bahrain.

Qualifying Preview—Africa (CAF)

Quite an action-packed weekend on tap for Africa Fans! Right at the top, I should take a page from Brüno and Sarah Palin and suggest we stop treating the whole of Africa as a continent. If Muammar Gaddafi AU Presidency didn’t convince you, perhaps the stones he garnered for his rambling U.N. address will. According to some reports, a total of THREE interpreters said, “fuck it. I’m tired and this guy is batshit crazy.” He finished with an empty booth. Beyond the comic relief, you have a largely authoritarian Arab north, an East plagued by ethnic conflict, a West perpetually afflicted by resource conflict and a south that just can’t seem to assume the mantle.

I suppose what I’m advocating is a more regionalized integration project. “Ubuntu” may be more effective if its not continent wide.  But what the hell do I know? I’m no Horace Campbell.  I do know that we’ll be missing out on some quality Sub-Saharan teams, some of which could truly use a World Cup Berth to cheer about. It looks as if Cote d’ivoire will finish qualifying by the end of the weekend. Sadly, the same cannot be said for Kenya, Rwanda, Benin, Guinea, Burkina Faso, Mali, and Malawi. Tough road ahead for Gabon, Togo, and Nigeria too.

Africa can get you down:

Editor’s retroactive notes:

Qaudaffi deserved that savagely slow street bleed..if only for that speech.


Zambia v. Egypt


Not sure about, you but I certainly don’t want all the Jewish books being taken out of my library. UNESCO barely escaped international humiliation with that vote. To those who believe the Hosny rejection to be some sort of elitist swipe at Egyptian national pride, why not reserve your pride for your football club? The “Pharaohs” are surely a more deserving outlet. They’re CAN champs and will win this one. 

THE LINE: Egypt + 2 Goals

Editor’s retroactive notes:

RESULT: Bah..fooled you. No way in hell I’m reporting the results of games I didn’t even watch. The blabber refers to a UNESCO motion circa 2009 to remove Coptic and Judeo books from Cairo’s Library, a world heritage cite. Perhaps this tidbit will make Americans feel a mite better about the unequivocal withdraw of U.S. Funds….perhaps. The removal of historical texts would definitely serve as a more reasonable excuse for yanking funds than the Palestinian Observer Status Petition. What a fucked up world we live in LL Hey, here’s a thought:

Anyways, half a page into the Africa section and already we’ve encountered to autocrats who have been overthrown by domestic popular uprisings. That alone might give one grounds for optimism.

Malawi v. Cote d’Ivoire


Everyone relax. Didier Drogba, Salomon Kalou, Emmanuel Eboué, and Yaya Touré will be flying down the pitch in South Africa! This is one helluva talented squad. Depending on the group lottery, we may very well have a sleeper.

THE LINE: Cote d’Ivoire+3 Goals 

Cameroon v. Togo


Here we have a perfect example of two teams that should qualify. I’d like to see Eto’o AND Adebayor! Why this either/or stuff? Anyway, both of these clubs have a history of getting screwed by lousy German managers (Otto “iron” Pfister and “No Winnie” Schäfer) so I’m wracked with guilt. A tough one to pick. Oh well, when in doubt “Eto’oooooooooo” (missin that culés?)

THE LINE: Cameroon+1 Goal

Gabon v. Morocco


People of Gabon, I am so very sorry. After 30 years of wealth hoarding, ostentatious displays, and outright resource Omar Bongo finally dies. Now you have his %^@# son to deal with

Note to Sarkozy: “La Francophonie” is not necessarily something to be proud of. Nearly all of your former African possessions are in terrible shape. Next time, instead of attending a despot’s funeral, perhaps you just stay at home with Carla. Tout est clair maintenant, nain? 

THE LINE: Gabon+1 Goal

Editor’s retroactive notes:

Oh the French. It takes an especially obnoxious country to field five presidential candidates, all of think, talk, and act like child molesters. The National Front and Gauche are sickening. Bayrou, Sarko, and Hollande are in a tight race for the “Least Interesting Man in the World Title.” This group makes the 2012 Republican Primary Field look like a gathering of polished intellectuals. Imagine being French. ONLY FOR A MOMENT!! Now remove the noose from your neck and climb down from that chair.


Benin v. Ghana


Nothing to play for, but we’re still “Ghana” win

THE LINE: Ghana+2 Goals

Tunisia v. Kenya


Time for the first upset. As much as I liked “A Night in Tunisia”, I like my East Africans even more! Kenyans, in spite of your embarrassing Kibaki-Odinga government, I’m behind you all the way… least until the Tanzanian Taifa Stars can overcome that 171st World Ranking. Ouch L

THE LINE: Kenya +1 Goal

Editor’s retroactive notes:

Someone still must explain to me why the East Africans are so embarrassingly bad at football. They’re as crazy about the game as anyone else. They produce more marathon champions than anywhere on the globe. Two more were born in the time it took me to compose that sentence. How the hell is it that people “born to run” can’t run circles around outfielders on the pitch? Did the British drop bombs laden with the instinctual football failure influence on the Mau Mau? I own two Taifa Stars (Tanzanian National Football Team) Trikots and one Harembe Stars (Kenya National Football Team) Jerseys and I’ve been too embarrassed to wear them in public over the past few years. I also gifted tons of those shirts to friends all over the world. Why must they be continually embarrassed? Let’s get our shit together Afrika ya Mashariki! White Man demands a restoration of pride!

By the way, if anyone’s looking to name a cat, “Mau Mau” and “Maji Maji” are excellent options courtesy of East Africa. You’re welcome.

Nigeria v. Mozambique


Let’s do it “Super Eagles”! MEND up your differences and get back where you belong!

THE LINE: Nigeria +2 Goals

Guinea v. Burkina Faso


Plenty of debate about whether or not they’re going to hold this one at all. The Stade de 28 Septembre is not where I’d like to be right now L L Guinean citizens, my hopes for a speedy cessation of the bloodshed. This Captain Camara appears to be another Conte. Once more tranquil times resume, we must take up the cause of the preponderance of countries on this planet named some variant of “Guinea”. We’ve got “Guinea”, “Equatorial Guinea”, “Guinea-Bissau”, “Papua New Guinea”, and “French Guinea” (in South America). Arghhh!! This single-handedly sunk my chances for the Jeopardy! College Championship. L

THE LINE: Guinea +1 Goal

Editor’s retroactive notes:
Two months after this was written, Captain Camarra was nearly assassinated by one of his own soldiers. After they flew him to Ouagadougou for medical treatment, a six-month plan to restore the country to civilian rule was drafted. Though elections were delayed, a competent and professorial longtime opposition leader Alpha Conde in December 2010. The ICC prepares for oral arguments in the prosecution of the mass rape atrocity that occurred in front of the Stade 28 Septembre. To date no soldiers have been successfully prosecuted. Ideally, at least some partial justice for this deplorable assault on human dignity will be served.

And no, unlike the crusading “KONY 2012” kid, I do not plan to be caught masturbating in public anytime soon. Not “caught” anyway J

Mali v. Sudan


With high hopes for a referendum, this should be the final time a unified north-south country known as “Sudan” competes. And what is with this “conflict resolved” jive I keep hearing? Did I miss something? Feel like giving yet?

THE LINE: Mali+2 Goals

Editor’s retroactive notes:

The Republic of South Sudan was confirmed via plebiscite in January 2011. Independence was officially bestowed on July 9th of the same year. It’s been a turbulent nine-month gestation period for the new nation that Clooney forgot. The nascent nation has seen its fair share of internal ethnic rebellions, most significantly brutal tribal warfare spurned by the suddenly belligerent Nuer Nomads.

With respect to neighborly relations, large contingents of ethnic groups are still caught on the wrong side of the Upper Nile-Blue Nile and Northern Bahr el Ghazal-South Kurdofan borders. The interminable shelling that takes place on these explosive borders has quashed any mass migrations. No international accord has been signed to govern the flow of the South’s Petroleum to the North’s export ports. As of this entry, the two countries stand on the precipice of a prolonged intractable war that will claim countless innocent lives in the crossfire.

Not to diminish the decade-long genocide of animist populations by the Janjaweed in Darfur, but another 280,000 people may die in a region that we hear conspicuously little about. This would constitute reason #451,982 why I hate Hollywood Celebrities and their “awareness raising” efforts. Why the lamentably tortuous fuck should they be allowed to set the discursive agenda?? You want to “raise awareness”? Give money to charity quietly and tell people to read the fucking paper or do whatever they wish to stay informed. All you accomplish by inserting yourself into the limelight is a skewing the public’s concentration toward you and away from the actual professionals who might be qualified to help. The real hero should be the volunteer.

You all share much in common with the KONY 2012 kid. You simply masturbate in public figuratively.   

Algeria v Rwanda


An interesting fact you may not have known about: Algeria has a National Ice Hockey Team. S’true. In 2008 they competed in the inaugural Arab Cup of Ice Hockey. Barring something special, they’ll be competing in South Africa too.

THE LINE: Algeria+1 Goal

Editor’s retroactive notes:

Er…should anyone be interested in sponsoring my coverage of the “Arab Cup of Ice Hockey.” just give the word and I’ll get started on the funding proposal. Writer for hire! Writer here!

Qualifying Preview—CONMEBOL


I truly feel like traveling to Buenos Aires and giving everyone a hug right now. No, I haven’t caught the Sanford Flu. I’m simply overcome with empathy for those suffering through the travesty of the Diego Maradona Era. Honestly, Argentines, what the hell were you thinking?!? Is this the same groupthink logic at work when you decided “Why not put Nestor’s ditzy wife in charge for a while? That sounds fair”.

Listen, Argentines, Maradona was an amazing player, perhaps the best ever. This does not necessarily translate to…how to put this…INTELLIGENCE! I mean, Christ. You don’t see Americans putting Lenny Dykstra in charge of their finances! (Er..hey wait a second) Look, my overall point is not diluted. Even if you manage to hang on to the fifth place spot, beat the CONCACAF Team, and make it to South Africa, your team still faces serious problems. Namely, Diego Maradona coaches it! Couldn’t you have just kept him as a talismanic cheerleader in the stands?  Messi doesn’t need this.
Anyways, Chile and Ecuador look to be well positioned. Uruguay, Columbia, and Venezuela still have a shot. Bolivia and Peru are done for.

Editor’s retroactive notes:

It looked as if the ditz would be thrown out on her egregiously botoxed face….then Nestor keeled over. I still feel a kinship with my distant Argentine relatives….er…none of which share German blood. Twice improbably eliminated by the Germans, the Argentines have consistently underachieved despite having the undisputed greatest football talent in over a generation. Still very much interested in dispensing some hugs. Perhaps I’ll even catch the “Sanford Flu” and find a mocha baby of my own.


Ecuador v. Uruguay


It’s do or die time for these two clubs in what can only be described as…..dammit. Of course, the match is being held in Quito and I simply can’t think of something catchy to attach to the venue. Shit. Were they playing in Uruguay, one could easily dub it “Montevideo Madness”! Oh well…Let’s see where else asinine alliteration and some shallow cultural references can get us. Will ManU’s Antonio Valencia lead his boys to the promised land of Ecuadorian Ecstasy? Or will Athletico striker Diego Forlan and the madmen from Montevideo rain on their Jipijapa? Okay. That REALLY sucked. You write a global sportsbook. Go ahead. Your mother liked this one.

THE LINE: Ecuador+2 Goals

Argentina v. Peru


If you can’t qualify for the World Cup with Carlitos Tevez, Lionel Messi, Javier Mascherano, Gabriel Heinze, and Juan Veron on your roster, I don’t what the hell is wrong with you. They BETTER win here.

THE LINE: Argentina+1 Goal

Columbia v. Chile


Congratulations to Alvaro Uribe! Can I have a week please without having to read about some Latin American leader holding a plebiscite to reform the constitution and run for an additional term? Please give me one confounded week! Bloody hell! This is worse than 2007 in Berlin, where I couldn’t walk to the Newsstand without seeing a picture of Angelina Jolie on the cover of a different magazine every week. Just give me one bloody week without this!!

THE LINE: Chile +1 Goal

Editor’s retroactive notes:

Uribe actually ended up standing down in favor of his defense minister Juan Manuel dos Santos. Dos Santos easily demolished the very entertaining Green Party candidate Antonius Mockus in the June 2010 runoff. I personally found the result devastating, as Mockus was an accomplished Mathematician who relinquished his academic career in order to become a professional political satirist. After his eccentric musings caught the attention of the national media, he successfully waged a campaign to obtain the office of mayor of Bogotá.

The bearded chain-smoking city chief would report to work in sandals and shorts. He hired the San Francisco Mime Troop to make fun of traffic violators. He sponsored mandatory open-air festival holidays, shutting down the entire city and giving attendees free vouchers. He brought the concept of “Ladies Night” to the city, offering bars tax credits for in proportion to their drink specials. Of course he also extended potable drinking water, sewage, and electricity to the entire city. He drove down the homicide and traffic fatality rates by over half, but that’s not so amusing. In short, love him or hate him, you’d enjoy having a beer with a character like him. Sure, like any dirty hippie, he doesn’t truly understand Economics. Still, show me a politician from either the right or the left who actually does and I’ll buy you a beer.

Venezuela v. Paraguay


See above introductory comments on football diplomacy. Actually, I think Chavez is just about batshit crazy enough to be the exception to the rule. Him and Qadaffi. Do I smell sulfur?

THE LINE: Paraguay (with noting to play for)+2 takers?


Bolivia v. Brazil


Bam Bam. Meaningless match? Tempting?

THE LINE: Brazil+3 goals


Peru v. Bolivia


Evo: You elect me or I starve myself
Me: Yo, Gandhi! Don’t you have more important work to do? Others happen to be starving, and they don’t have the luxury of being the televised Bolivian Jesus.

THE LINE: Peru+1

Editor’s retroactive notes:

Evo keeps hanging in there. By the look of his jawline, he should probably consider another hunger strike.

Brazil v. Venezuela


Look for Lula and Hugo in the stands together…talking trade. I swear, why anyone even bothers to mention “Potential Revival of the Doha Round” is beyond me. This continent won’t let it happen. 

THE LINE: Brazil+1

Paraguay v. Columbia


Again, what is there to say about Paraguay beyond some sophomoric comments on Fernando Lugo’s Lust for Life? Perhaps I’ll take off all my clothes, sit in front of the laptop and proceed with one of my patented “Nude Brainstorming Sessions”…or perhaps I’ll just give you the line.

THE LINE: Columbia+1

Editor’s retroactive notes:

Here’s the deal. I have a specific number in mind that must submit written requests for the photo of me typing in the buff. Should this number bet met, and it never will, I’ll post it on my timeline. 

Chile v. Ecuador


I sincerely hope “La Roja Americana” has secured a place by this one. I missed the Chilean girls back in 2006. Something was definitely lacking.

THE LINE: Chile+1

Uruguay v. Argentina


Oh the Kirchner’s need this bad. And Maradona needs to call Franz Beckenbauer…..immediately. And you, should go to:

THE LINE: Uruguay+1

Qualifying Preview---CONCACAF


Oh wow! Things are really exciting in the Confederation of North-Central American and Caribbean Association Football…or let’s just say NAMBLA. J Hopefully the shameless Stewart reference enlightens you to the fact that I’m being sarcastic. Yawn. Things are as boring as ever in the most thoroughly threadbare FIFA division. The U.S. and Mexico will qualify, as always. Trinidad and Tobago will not make the cut this time and El Salvador clings onto hope only by their fingernails. The only real item of interest is whether Costa Rica or Honduras will grab the playoff spot and face off against whoever replaces the soon-to-be fired Maradona.

It should be a very enjoyable weekend for all you Yanks out there. I know you’re busy with the college football season, the baseball playoffs, and the NFL. J All I ask is that you take a few moments, in the midst of tailgating, to celebrate your team’s World Cup Qualification. Savor this moment, for it may prove to be your last chance. I foresee another humbling letdown come next summer. Do be careful not to invest too much hope in Sam’s Army. In the words of Bristol Palin, “Pull out while you still can!” What?! Don’t look at me like that. I’ve told you I’ve already booked my trip to hell!

Editor’s retroactive notes:

If we could somehow insert Meghan McCain’s brain into Bristol Palin’s body…eh…sure. Why not? Three Keystone DryIceLites and I’m ready to go.


Mexico v. El Salvador


The Bags of Urine will be flying at Azteca! Watch this one on Univision for the full-effect.

THE LINE: Mexico+2

Honduras v. United States


An Open Memo to Roberto Micheletti:

Sigh. You had all of, what, five months till the elections? It was highly unlikely he had enough support to institute a constitutional change. Why did you have to make such a fucking mess of things? Continuing in that vein, what the hell did Oscar Arias say that was so damned unreasonable? You now have five weeks until the elections. He won’t win. You’re only aiding his supporters with this nonsense! Enough already! Observe what you are doing to your people! Others need the couch at the Brazilian Embassy.


Costa Rica v. Trinidad and Tobago


Wanachope, don’t ya wanna? Wanachope, don’t ya wanna? Wanachope don’t ya wanna?
What? Wanchope doesn’t play anymore? That makes me positively sullen L UPSET ALERT!

THE LINE: Trinidad and Tobago+1

Editor’s retroactive notes:

It’s sung to the tune of the “Fanta USA” jingle! Are we getting it now?


El Salvador v. Honduras


How long till Oliver Stone makes a shitty movie starring James Woods entitled “’Duras”?

THE LINE: Honduras+2

Editor’s retroactive notes:

That would be a reference to the 1986 film “Salvador”, or “Vice in about Ten Years”. Are we getting it now?

United States v. Costa Rica


Last chance for glory, yanks! As is customary I plan to exploit your American Pride!

THE LINE: Costa Rica+1

Trinidad and Tobago v. Mexico


Why, when I through bags of urine at someone, is this not considered a cultural rite of identity politics?

THE LINE: Mexico+1 (and only 1!)

Qualifying Matches------UEFA


Bizarre Micro States galore! We’ve got ethic enclaves, medieval fiefdoms, breakaway republics, “kingdoms” that have been a part of the U.K. for 600 years, bitterly dived realms that can’t decide on a nationality, new countries that were formed yesterday at 3:34 a.m. when no one was paying attention, land’s whose teams have goats and sheep playing for them, States who have survived centuries of warfare by functioning merely as a picturesque tax shelter and a newly approved treaty that aims to make sense of the whole tangled mess! Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the quirky inheritor of feudal Christendom… I give you a veritable patchwork quilt of technocrats squabbling over milk subsidies. I give you EUROPE! (Turks, Israelis, Russians, Kazaks, Azerbaijanis, and Nordic Colonial islands also welcome. Everyone join the party!)

Editor’s retroactive notes:

Ten years on, this has to be my finest work. J I’m going to call one of those Last Will and Testament companies hocked by Sam Waterston, Ed McMahon, and Alex Trebek to make doubly sure this is imprinted on my tombstone.

There is simply no possible way I might concisely elucidate for you who’s in and who’s out. Accordingly, we’ll stick to the big boys. Portugal is in serious danger of not qualifying. They cannot settle for anything less than six points this week. The Greeks need a solid showing as well, though they should still qualify for a playoff spot. Northern Ireland is in the hunt for the first time in years! The non-unionist Irish will definitely make things interesting, but haven’t secured anything yet. The French are teetering on the edge of disaster, while the Ukrainians are fighting for their lives. Unfortunately, the Scots will not be joining us following yet another heartbreaker.


Finland v. Wales


Presenting “Exhibit W”. Formally part of the British Crown since 1536, informally part of Britain since the Magna Carta, do we still have enough pride to form a national football team? Mudiad Amddiffyn Cymru!

The Welsh have been officially eliminated, meaning we will not have the opportunity to behold the splendor that is Craig Bellamy. The Finns are gone as well, but somehow I don’t give a shit.


THE LINE: Wales+1

Editor’s retroactive notes:

Two months following this piece, the EU Council selected Belgium Haiku Master Herman van Rompuy to chair their committee meetings. Meh. No complaints. From what I understand the… “chairs one helluva committee meeting”. Why not? It works for me. It should work well on the street.

Russia v. Germany


Where does one begin here? A Barbarosa gag? Some puns about pipeline politics? A heartless joke about Angie’s cleavage seducing Guido Westerwelle out of the homosexual scene? A soft jab at the Ruskies for bringing Soviet Flags to games or the three blades of grass on the Moscow field? A faux conversation between bubbling idiots Podolski and Pavlyuchenko? Oh there is too much to say. One must fight the temptation to spend all damn day on this. Mayhap I’ll keep it simple with a passage from Taylor Branch’s (The Clinton biographer) book:

“During an official Visit to Washington in 1995, the Secret Service discovered that President Yeltsin was not in his room. After a frantic search they discovered Yeltsin on Pennsylvania Avenue in nothing but his underwear, trying to hail a cab. When asked what he was doing, a clearly inebriated Yeltsin replied that he merely wanted a pizza.”

The beauty of this is that I don’t even have to write a joke here. Anyone still wondering why Putin enjoys such great popularity?

THE LINE: Deutschland +3 Goals (Who dares exploit my kraut pride???)

Editor’s retroactive notes:

Er…anyone still wondering why Putin’s re-election was a forgone conclusion?

Belarus v. Kazakhstan


It’s the “White Russians” vs. what I’m arbitrarily going to call the “Black Russians”. I have some commentary concerning the German tendency to never update the names of geographical locations. Certain times it’s cool. Other times, we need to buy a new atlas.

Weißrussland (White Russia) –Belarus
This dude abides stickin with the classic name here.

Er, Peking v. Beijing. Istanbul v. Constantinople. St. Petersburg v. Leningrad. I don’t know what to call these cities anymore! Guess I’ll let it slide

Bombay-Mumbai—C’mon Krauts! This is just disrespectful! Our industrious Indians are in the process of constructing “New Mumbai”. What will you call it then?

Burma-Myanmar---I get it, I get it. An atrocious junta keeps oppressing the sainted Aun San Suu Kyi. Than Shwe is a terrible dictator. “The New Light of Myanmar” is an Orwellian paper. You keep this name in protest. I still think we should move on. I don’t see you dropping “Tapei” in favor of “Taiwan” or “Formosa”, so you’re being somewhat hypocritical anyway.

Editor’s retroactive notes:

All hail Thein Sein! Alright, Krauts. Now that Aun San Suu Kyi just got elected to parliament, we don’t have an excuse anymore.

Back to the issue at hand…Belarus is primed to drop another “Luka-stinko” All about the Kazaks in this one.

THE LINE: Kazakhstan +2 Goals

Ukraine v. England


Tired of me making jokes about countries in which people have similar names? Too bad. Suck it up and get ready for your “Daily Ko(s)”:

Kalynchenko, Krevchenko, Levchenko, Schevchenko
Timonscheko (No relation to Julia) Yarmolenko, Ischenko, Tischmenko
Yushchenko, Yushchenko, Yuschcheko!!

That, my friends, is free verse; a haiku on steroids; poetry that actually MEANS something. This reminds me:

THE LINE: Ukraine +1

Luxembourg v. Switzerland


It's the “Battle of the Tax Havens”!!! Loser of this match has to cough up the account numbers. No questions asked!

THE LINE: Switzerland +2

Estonia v. Bosnia-Herzegovina


Okay. I declare winner gets to join the Monetary Union. Loser gets some modest easing of the Visa restrictions. Ah fuck it. Just let Estonia adopt the Euro already! This would serve the long-term interest of the bloc!

THE LINE: Estonia +1

Editor’s retroactive notes:

Estonia joined the Eurozone on the first of January 2011. I’m telling you, Europe’s movers and shakers read this column…when they’re not attending a “Bunga Bunga” party. Practically every EU prediction has come to fruition. A special hello to Moni and Papdemios, whom I know are anxious to read this summer’s Sportsbook. Hang in there, boys! Your technocratic caretakership is almost over!

Armenia v. Spain


No superstars in this match L. And I was sooo looking forward to listening to Spanish Radio 1. Other than the occasional “La Pilota!”, one here’s few verbs and nouns. Just good old-fashioned repetitive player names. “Fernando Fernando”, “Villa, Villa, Villa”, “Xavi, Xavi”.  Incidentally, in case anyone is wondering there is a subtle distinction between Spanish and Latin American goal calls:


Spanish = “Gol! (slight pause) Gol! (another pause, prepared for rapid succession) Gol, gol, gol,gol,gol,gol,gol,gol,gol,gol,gol,gol,gol,gol,gol,goooooooooooooooool! La Fuerta!”

British = “Oh I say! What an effort! An absolute cracker of a goal! It’s in the net! What a scorcher!  Superbly finished. No chance for the keeper”

Scottish = “neece gule, lad, wot a feenish! Deka do ridgey do dah.”

Chinese = “Jing la! Jing la!”

Sorry, couldn’t resist pullin' a Reverend Wright there. I could be here all afternoon, offending people with stereotypes. I haven’t even touched the Krauts, Dagos, or Yanks yet. Guess I’ll quite while I’m ahead. No denying the fact that “if ya got some white friends……they be clappin' like this……ya’ll”

Er……Stay classy, San Diego J Keep fucking that chicken!

THE LINE: Spain +3

Editor’s retroactive notes:

In the interest of artistic fairness, the “keep fucking that chicken” line belongs to a local NYC News Anchor and its popularization to the unparalleled talent for facial expressions of a one Johnny Leibowitz. Not that I watch or anything. Not that I used to tape the show on VHS and watch it first thing in the morning. Not that I visit the website five times daily. Haven’t missed a day in years. Okay. I fast forward through the commercials, the interviews, any slow correspondent segment and pretty much anything else that I don’t find funny. I give you four minutes a day, Johnny. Can we still be in love? 

We might as well add the thankfully defunct Dave O’Brien to this list:

American = “He shoots he scores! What? This isn’t hockey?”

Cyprus v. Bulgaria


Unless a miracle occurs, Bulgaria will not qualify for 2010. This means that this is final week to see Dimitar Berbatov in action! Of course, you could just tune into any ManU Game. Yet, as a Spurs fan, I am always secretly hoping he chokes. Excepting last weekend, I’ve been satisfied.


Editor’s retroactive notes:

Berbatov currently warms the ManU bench. More or less done for, he’ll likely only be seen in the Swiss Alpo SuperLiga.

Montenegro v. Georgia


Hi new States! How’s it going? Someday too you’ll grow big and strong and join the EU. Say hi to Kosovo for us! J Some report on the war, eh? I’ve seen Ed Koch deliver less blatantly artificially balanced judgments on “The People’s Court.”


Denmark v. Sweden


Scandinavian Showdown! By the way, if you missed Flemming Moller’s (Anders Fogh Rasmussen’s replacement) proposal to kill some 40,000 puppies here is the link:

Two reasons why I’m not revolted by this proposal:

1) In certain rural regions of Southwestern Germany, the slaughter of thousands of canine mongrels is known simply as “Oktoberfest”
2) As someone who had a greyhound-racing stepfather, I’m simply not shocked by this whole Michael Vick thing. That’s my Dawg!

THE LINE: Sweden+1

Editor’s retroactive notes:
Everyone chill out. I love dogs. They’re delicious.

Liechtenstein v. Azerbaijan


The Azerbaijan Football Team is known as “The Land of Fire”. Is it me, or does this sound like a village in an old school Japanese RPG? 

“You arrive in “Land of Fire”. Scary Fire Monster live in Cave where Chief went and never come back. Never thought about using Blizzard Spell against him.

THE LINE: Liechtenstein+1

Editor’s retroactive notes:

Bah ha. Oh the premises you’d swallow in your youth. Who wouldn’t want to be in the staff brainstorming session during which the Dungeon names were hashed out?

“Okay boys. We’ve mapped out a fairly decent single-player RPG here. We’ve got  “Fire Cave”, “Ice Mountain”, “Elf Forest”, “Sky Kingdom”, “Sewer Prison”, and “The Big Ass Grassland”. Should anyone have any other Dungeon names floating around up there, just speak up. I think we’re all in agreement that the fighting system tutorial will involve the main character killing some rats in the sewer. We’ve got a least two dream sequences that the party can somehow keep the exp from. Taguchi, have you made sure to put the armor classes in order? Right. It goes Cloth-Leather-Chainmail-Iron-Gold-Diamond-Crystal. Excellent. Great work everyone. We’ll call that lunch.” 

Israel v. Moldova


I must be careful not to say about against Moldova here. They’re quite good at using Facebook to organize violence. Instead, I’ll pick on the Jews. No hatred, my friends! This month’s reparations check is in the mail, I swear. Merseyside’s Yossi Benayoun is champion player; a real pleasure to watch. Lamentably, the nickname “Hebrew Hammer” just ain’t doin it for me. I propose we come up with some alternatives. In honor of the late William Safire, we’ll keep our ideas within the scope of “asinine alliteration”:

“The Jiffy Jew”
“The Zenithal Zionist”
“The Glorious Golem”
“The Demoralizing Drago”
“The Inspiring Israelite”

I tried, but just couldn’t find something to pair with Yahweh. Ideas anyone?

THE LINE: Israel+1

Czech Republic v. Poland


Alright, I’ll be the one to say it: Someone needs to get Vaclav Klaus laid. More precisely, someone needs to get him into those Berlusconi parties, the one’s where Mirek Topolanek was having a blast showcasing his “Sun-soaked Man-root” for all the young Italian ladies. Hey, Vaclav, lighten up will you? Down a few Pilsner-Urquells and sign the damn treaty.

The fact both countries with paranoid, grouchy right wing bigoted presidents who wish to derail Europe (Kaczynski and Klaus) are represented here is almost to good to be true. They’re going to be in the same place! While they’re sitting together, bitching about the fact that their respective unnecessary missile shields were revoked, someone can simply take em out!

THE LINE: Czech Republic+2

Editor’s retroactive notes:

See if we can’t walk this back a bit. Vaclav Klaus eventually capitulated and signed the Lisbon Treaty. He also had some very kind words for the recently deceased Vaclav Havel. All is forgiven. The notion of “Taking out” Lech Kaczynski seems, in hindsight, to be in slightly poor taste. How the hell was I supposed to know that he would crash en route to the Katyn Commemoration? The common courtesy of writing only good things about the dead precludes me from calling him a douche one last time. Just who do you think I am? Matt Taibbi?

Greece v. Latvia


Oh Greeks…not lookin like we’ll see the 2004 Euro Champs in 2010. What is infinitely worse, I’m fresh out of jokes involving Feta Cheese, uni-brows, and how long this shaky new Socialist government will last. Damn. We’ll, I suppose I’ll rant a bit about how disappointed I was with the “Secrets of the Parthenon” special on Nova. Underwhelming to learn that ancient architects used hand measurements in the construction of buildings. No really? As a matter of fact, the whole recent season has been somewhat of letdown. The “Fractal Geometry” episode was extremely boring, as I wasn’t on LSD. Oliver Sachs needs to stop pretending that a light on a spectrograph constitutes real science, as in the “Musicpheliola” installment. “The Man who mistook his love of Bach for a career” it should have been called. “Life on Mars?” Yawn. You won’t find out in my lifetime. “The Deadliest Plane Crash”? Hey if I want carnage, I can always flip over to The Learning Channel. “Astrospies” and “Secrets of the Samurai Sword” Okay I’ll give you those, but I still find myself craving a view of Neil de Grasse-Tyson’s hideous vests and another Charlie Rose Monologue about how great his kindle is all too often this year. 

THE LINE: Greece+2

Editor’s retroactive notes:

Beyond the Brian Greene Vignettes and two more needless WWII Specials PBS has stepped up their game with respect to the Nova topics. Among the highlights of the past three years are “Lice and Human Evolution”, “Can machines Think Like Us?”, most everything in the “Making Stuff” Series, “Darwin’s Darkest Hour”, “Can My Car live Forever?”, “Human Hibernation”, “Replacing Body Parts”, “How Smart are Dolphins?”, “How Smart is an Octopus?”, “Magnetic Mind Control”, Neil de Grasse-Tyson’s “The Pluto Files”, the entire “Becoming Human” series, “Hubble’s Amazing Rescue”, “How Memory Works”, “Secrets in the Salt”, and “Secrets of the Sun”.
What the hell is everyone else watching? “Glee”? “Jersey Shore”? “The Big Bang Theory”? “Deadly Women”? What the puss-oozing fuck is wrong with you people?

Slovakia v. Slovenia


Tune into this one to see FCK’s Eric Jendrisek! Additionally, you get to see my long-lost cousin, Vladimir Weiss and his cool-headed manager father! Weiss is a fighter and I’ll be damned if I bet against him. The Slovaks are coming to South Africa. Nothing will halt them!

THE LINE: Slovakia+2 Goals

Austria v. Lithuania


There is only one thing to say to the rogues who brought us Hitler, Red Bull, Jörg Haider, and the von Trapp family singers:

“So long, farewell, aufwiedersehen goodbye” …and good riddance! UPSET ALERT!

THE LINE: Lithuania+1

Serbia v. Romania


Travel to Transylvanian countryside…….and bring your whip. These are some scary countries

THE LINE: Romania+2

Belgium v. Turkey


Mmmmmmmm…lunchtime. Time for a Döner Kebab washed down with a couple of truffles and some Stella Artois. For those of you new to the Sportsbook, I harbor a special feeling of camaraderie for my tenacious Turkmen! True, my veneration mostly has to do with Döner Kebabs, a student delicacy that is as much Turkish as a Taco Bell Gordita is Mexican. Nevertheless, they are my half-German brothers and I’ll be damned if I decline to support them against this “pseudo-country”! I’m with Douglas Adams, “Belgium” is indeed a dirty word!  A memo circa 1817:

NEW IDEA FOR A COUNTRY: “We’ll take that most unsophisticated of the French (Walloons) and stick them together with the most arrogant of the Dutch (Flemish)….and we’ll call it (snicker) Belgium! Hehehe.

THE LINE: Turkey+2

France v. Faroe Islands


Don’t pretend as if you didn’t go darting to Wikipedia in order to find out where in the hell the Faroe Islands are. They’re the one part of Denmark that hasn’t yet pushed for independence. Methinks thou shallst watch this came on Fox Soccer Channel. Other than Christian Holst, the Faroe Islands feature…no one! Fairly certain they’ll be penciling in some livestock for this one. The French are in danger of coming up short. Actually, with a 2 foot 6 dwarf of a president, the ze French have already come up short. If you require high heels for every G-20 photo opportunity, if Merkel is glaring DOWN at you, its time to admit you’re vertically challenged. This shortie’s inferiority complex never stops rearing its ugly head. Why are you suing Dominique de Villepin for slander? Are you a bratty little 13 year-old who can’t let his schoolyard squabbles go? Leave de Villepin alone! Let him compose more appallingly bad poetry about French Melancholy in the tranquility of retirement. You won! Maybe you can’t grow anymore, but you can certainly “grow up”.


Ireland v. Italy


Not only will the two Koreas be represented in this tournament, there remains a chance we’ll see both Unionist and Independent Ireland! I demand of you that you root for both, particularly considering our second chance referendum saviors are playing my arch-nemesis: the floppin wops. 62 to 37%? I love you guys even more!

Never will I support the fucking-spaghetti fresser. I don’t give one good fuck about the fact that Luca Toni plays for Bayern. De Rossi and Cameronesi are traitors! Gilardino and Iaquinta are douchebags! Grosso, Cannavaro, and Zambrotta are melodramatic whores (whose mothers are, in accordance with logic, also whores). Buffon is….well a Buffoon. To hell with these guinea wop dago mofos!! And if any extraordinarily clever person wishes to point out the fact that I myself am half-Italian, well…you just proven I have some self-hate issues. Congratulations. As if that is news to anyone? Calling all wops, UPSET ALERT!!!!!

THE LINE: Ireland+2 Goals

Portugal v. Hungary


A cup without Christiano Ronaldo, Nani, Deco, Tiago, Simåo, Nuno Gomez, Ricardo Carvalho, Pepe, Bruno Alves, and Pedro Mendes?!?!?!?! You must be trying to ruffle me. I will not allow this to happen. The Portuguese will have an illustrious week! Mark my words!

THE LINE: Portugal+3 Goals


Kazakhstan v. Croatia


Odds on drunken Croatian fans burning themselves with flares: pretty damn good.

THE LINE: Croatia+2

Andorra v. Ukraine


Bring your sweater, cause you’re getting punked.

THE LINE: Ukraine+3 Goals

Germany v. Finland


Yawn. Everything should be wrapped up by now. The only question remaining is if Schweinsteiger has a time to swing by the sauna, and….

THE LINE: Germany+1 Goal

Azerbaijan v. Russia


Hey, a friendly “breakaway republic”. All right. Not as much political tension as the next match. No cause to even bother giving odds on opposing players getting poisoned.

THE LINE: Russia+2 Goals

Turkey v. Armenia


The much vaunted “football diplomacy”. Will Erdogan unseal the border? Will Armenia and Azerbaijan finally make peace? Keep an eye out for: Gul, Erdogan, and the Sargsyan Brothers.

THE LINE: Turkey+2

Editor’s retroactive notes:

The respective leaders did indeed sign a provisional accord that provided benchmarks for the eventual opening of the border along with Turkish recognition of the Armenian enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh in Azerbaijan. Hopes were high after the culmination of a two-year diplomatic thaw seemed to produce the desired results. However, any further progress was halted in April 2010 when the Armenians suspended their involvement in the deal.  The two sides (and Turkic third wheel) have since remained at an impasse.

Liechtenstein v. Wales


How will Liechtenstein survive without Siemens?

THE LINE: Wales+2

Latvia v. Moldova


Please don’t kill me Moldovans!

THE LINE: Latvia+2

Switzerland v. Israel


Anyone come up with a decent Benayoun nickname yet?

THE LINE: Switzerland+2

Greece v. Luxembourg


How about a decent Greek joke?

THE LINE: Greece +3

Lithuania v. Serbia


Yawn. I’m about empty.

THE LINE: Serbia +3

Italy v. Cyprus


Out of wop jokes too!

THE LINE: Italy +1

Bulgaria v. Georgia


Saakash-really? Nah Saakash-silly

THE LINE: Bulgaria+2

Bosnia-Herzegovina v. Spain


You may be forgiven for switching to the baseball game instead of bothering with this snoozefest. This penitence notwithstanding, you WILL not be forgiven for missing a single Spanish game during the WM!!

THE LINE: Spain+3

Romania v. Faroe Islands


Why don’t the Faroe Islands just declare independence already?

THE LINE: Romania+4

France v. Austria


Go get em Froggies! I don’t plan to tolerate a WM without Henry, Gallas, Patrice Evra, Anelka, Govou, Abidal, Benzema, Ribery and Malouda either!! You should call Trezeguet back up while you’re at it! As if you have something to lose!

THE LINE: France+3

Czech Republic v. Northern Ireland


After that debacle against the Turks in Euro 2008, Peter Cech might as well stay at home. Let’s do Ulster lads! UPSET ALERT!

THE LINE: Northern Ireland+1

Estonia v. Belgium


It’s okay to run out of gas…..UPSET ALERT!!!


Poland v. Slovakia


This list is in no way affiliated with the Polish Sports Minister or “Operation Blackjack”.
The good news for Polska: You get to host the EM in 2012!!
The bad news for Polska: Germany will continue to steal your best players and you’re not coming to South Africa.

THE LINE: Slovakia+2

Sweden v. Albania


The mighty hammer of Thor!!

THE LINE: Sweden+3

Editor’s retroactive notes:

So glad the Swedes lost here, as there was simply nothing more to say about them. “The Mighty Hammer of Thor”? You can’t fucking be serious, Vicey. Whether it's a mention from your friendly bookie Vicey, the plot of Douglas Adam’s second Dirk Gently novel, or a terrible Hollywood film, we’ve all run out of goddamn ideas. Odin is the only Norse God that whose name should be broached.

Denmark v. Hungary


This concludes the Danish Fall from grace! Your spot belongs to Portugal…

THE LINE: Hungary+1

Portugal v. Malta


You can still do it Ronaldo!

THE LINE: Portugal+3

Ireland v. Montenegro


You will make it happen, Paddies!

THE LINE: Ireland+2

England v. Belarus


Worth a look to see what’s up Fabio Capello’s sleeve.

THE LINE: England+2

San Marino v. Slovenia


As Austin Kelley of the Wall Street Journal so aptly reminds, San Marino has the worst historical record in all of qualifying football. Why aren’t these guys on “The Other Final”? Another movie that you should go see. I mean, RIGHT NOW!

THE LINE: Slovenia+4


Congratulations! You made it to the End! If you read this entire breakdown…you’re not human. No one possibly could of read this in its entirety. I do hope you were either offended or amused by my blurb on YOUR country. I also remind you that bets are due one hour before kickoff and encourage you, one last time, to donate to “Alice and Kicking”

Editor’s retroactive notes:

As I recall, the preceding dozen or so matches could only be completed with “aphorism arrows” from a quite inebriated mind. Unsurprisingly, the write-up yielded little betting traffic. Regardless, we raised over $1000 for “Alive and Kicking” and had a blast being as frivolously irreverent as possible. In the future Vice Autocracy, my loyal subjects will be required to attend at least four festivals a year (be they film, music, food, petroleum, nerdist, or sex-toy). In addition, every denizen of the Vice Kingdom must devote at least three full weeks a year to acting like a half-witted juvenile with some genuine “goof off” work. His Majesty Vicey would rule the realm with a drunken fist. His Grace would resemble Antonius Mockus….on crack. Our society would transcend that of a clownish paradise, however, in that we would also implement the “Shadow Scholar Work Ethic”. A minimum of twelve hours a day, seven days a week (mandatory festivals and holidays excluded).

The prevailing dictum of this utopia would encourage all citizens to work hard and punish their bodies with play even harder. Our life expectancy would not exceed fifty, meaning there would exist no Medicare, Social Security, or Hospice Fee. Live fast. Die young. State sponsored booze, smokes, and general nonsense for all. As sensationally stupid as the whole experiment sounds, we’ve at least drained life of its most vexing questions. No need to sit and contemplate the meaning of it all when surrounded by so many distractions. There was a point to this hypothetical, but it has temporarily escaped the writer’s mind. Who else has other shit to do?