Freedom from Blog

Don't call it a comeback . . . .

Friday, June 25, 2010

Two Years Old

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Stolen GOOOOAAAAAAAL, Part Deux!!!!!

Again!!!!!! This is getting really frickin' old. This time it was a botched offsides call to negate the US goal, which makes it a close comparison to the Galaragga perfect game example #3 used below (unlike the inexplicable call in the Slovenia game). Nothing corrupt (I presume), just one of those routine, bang bang calls that the linesman clearly botched.

I have a bad feeling about this. Feels a lot like the Germany game where an early bad call combines with frustration over missed chances to change the tenor of the match. Hope I'm wrong.


I'm not sure why I found this so interesting, but today Lang (at 3 1/2) hit a minor developmental milestone. Sporting a big grin, she announced--apropos to what I'm not sure--"I know how to spell 'bathtub': BFTB!"

We had to think about it for a second before conceding she was pretty close. Note that she can't read yet. She knows her alphabet, can write her letters (with a few glitches, like the "E" that often turns into a six pronged comb), and can write a few words from memory, like her and her sister's names. But never before has she taken a word and tried to figure out from how it sounds how it must be spelled. Which certainly seems like something new and qualitatively harder than what she's been doing with language so far. Of course, I'm sure if you read the baby books, they'll say that this is standard behavior at 36 months. Me, I'm holding onto my marvel, time lines be damned.

Friday, June 18, 2010


It's only been a few hours since the game ended, so I'm going to keep my remarks moderate and free of hyperbole. FIFA should fire the referee, South Africa should open up a criminal corruption investigation, and then Obama should order an assault team to capture him and then turn him over to George Bush's CIA. Because, really, a drone attack in the middle of the night would be too kind.

If you haven't seen it, the US soccer team got royally screwed today. The call, which nullified the US's winning goal against Slovenia with five minutes left in the game, is being euphemistically labeled "controversial." But no one who has looked at it has any idea what the ref was looking at. Not only is there no US foul, nor offsides, but there are at least two or three Slovenian fouls in the box that could have resulted in a US penalty kick had not the ball gone in. Which it did anyway. Props to Landon Donovan for a great cross and Maurice Edu for a strong finishing touch.

Now, you may say, it was just one really bad call, and that happens all the time. Sure. But the ref had it in for the Yanks all day. There were at least half a dozen mystery calls against the US that left the announcers (only one of whom was American) baffled--and NONE going the other way. Earlier, Robbie Findley got a yellow card for getting hit in the face with the ball. Plus, no one will comment on the ref's call. The ref is mum, and so is FIFA. They wouldn't explain it on the field, and they won't explain it well after the game is over. This whole thing looks deeply, unforgivably rotten.

Bad reffing happens, and it costs games. The Germans got the bad end against Serbia just hours before when the ref went so yellow card-happy that the Germans lost their best scorer early in the first half off ticky tack shit. Still, that was at least non-partisan badness. Both sides got burned, and Klose was dumb to push it with a weak foul when he knew the ref was playing Miss Priss. The US, by contrast, got a thumb, hand, and shoulder thrown onto the scale. I hope this ends badly for that dude.

UPDATE: Surprised that no one has made the connection between this game and the movie it so closely resembles, Victory (1981): the allies come back from a big halftime deficit to win in the final minutes only to have a corrupt ref negate their winning goal. All that's missing is Sly Stallone, Pele, and the Nazis. I half expected the American crowd to rush the field and carry off the players while chanting, "Victoire! Victoire!"

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Vacation Photo

That is a genuine tarball that washed up at Gulf Shores, Alabama. Photo by me.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Old College i

Tim Pawlenty went on The Daily Show tonight to explain his views on "small government" and spent most of his time avoiding specifics, since as we all know there's really no meaningful (by which I mean "noticeably deficit reducing") fat to cut in either state or federal budgets, just big popular programs and small misunderstood ones. Even "foreign aid," which always wins surveys of cut-worthy programs turns out to be (a) minuscule, and (b) primarily spent on Israel & its neighbors (so as, you know, not to attack it). Oppose foreign aid? Jew hater!

But then TimP slipped. Dropped the playbook. Went rogue. Let out his inner Rand Paul. He proposed abolishing state supported higher ed altogether and replacing it with vouchers so you can buy an iPad.

i. Shit. Ye. Not.

Don't take "boring" classes where you have to "listen" to some "professor." Just download an econ app and figure it out for yourself, whenever you want. As loopy as this idea sounds to anyone who has actual experience of education, I have to confess that this does answer at least one long-standing perplexity haunting American political culture: where the hell did the GOP learn its economics? Apparently, the same place it gets its porn.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Haley's Comeback

I've described before the charming peculiarities of my home state, South Carolina, notably here and here. Philip Roth waxed eloquent on the "American berserk," setting it typically in New Jersey, and, having seen both Jersey Shore and the Real Housewives of New Jersey I won't quibble with his psychic geography, except maybe to press for a sandlapper sidecar.

Tonight, me boys have done it again, and I don't mean, gone shaggin' or cloggin'. Mark Sanford hasn't even left office, and the GOP has nearly (save for the now predictable runoff) nominated yet another hard right, libertarian cum states' rights extremist and serial philanderer to hold their highest office. Don't get me wrong, I'll take the latter sin so long as it breathes free of the former. Public and private virtue aren't the same after all, props to Machiavelli. But Madame Haley lacks for either, so she gets no love from this blogger. How odd, though, that the SC GOP should so passionately rally around her in her moment of greatest implausibility, allowing a mere state senator to lap an MC, an AG, and an LtG. It's as if the very transparency of her bedroom lies made them love her more. The Tea Party has thrived upon its willful embrace of the paradoxical, the hypocritical, and the patently ludicrous. A test of faith? In The True Believer, the great Eric Hoffer wrote that, for the Kool-Aid inclined, big lies were better motivators than small ones, since they created both a more powerful sense of in-group identification and a more intense sense of grievance against that pesky and persecuting "reality." Maybe, but it could also be that defending Darling Nikki--notably against the caddish Jake Knotts--gave them a chivalrous shiver, especially when it let them flatter their Rand-Paulian fantasy of racial indifference. A lady's "virtue" must be preserved, especially if she's fixin' to cut taxes and repeal health care.

Overlooked almost entirely, my home district (SC-04) has likely (again, runoff pending) defeated the hard right incumbent Bob Inglis with the holy-shit-that's-hard right of Trey Gowdy (28%-39%). Inglis committed the sin of telling the Tea Partiers that they were delusional, hoping his rock solid conservative voting record would save him. No such luck. Amazing to think that, growing up, my rep in that district was a liberal Democratic woman. But that was the golden age of Gamecock progressivism, a halcyon time when Gov. Dick Reilly (D!) was inspiring young Bill Clinton with his New South savoir faire, visions of technocratic policy wonks dancing in their heads. Looking back, and having seen SC's political exhibitionism stripped barer and barer over several decades, I now think that dreamy interregnum must have been the real South Carolina berserk--between the reign of Thurmond the restoration that was Reaganism. Ah, South Carolina! Good times there are not forgotten.