Sunday, October 30, 2005

Only in Windsor

An article in Thursday’s Toronto Star caught my eye, but with a busy weekend I only got around to blogging about it today. It’s pretty scary to think this guy could have been teaching for so long, but I must admit some portions of the article made me laugh quite hard. Registration is required to read the article, so I will post it here.

From praising Osama bin Laden and calling the Holocaust an "exaggeration" to telling students he'd like to have sex with their mothers, a former Windsor-area high school teacher is accused of having broken just about every taboo of civil conduct — in class or out.

William Fabel is alleged to have dished out insults equally: Girls ("I'm a leg man; I have cameras hidden under all the girls' desks!"); boys ("How many of you guys would sleep with these girls for a million dollars?"); gays ("There's no room in the world for them"); Catholics ("That nun isn't getting any"); fellow teachers ("Go check them out at the strip club going down the pole"); the school principal ("If you want to laugh, picture the principal naked!"); and blacks ("Watch your back; I have a n----- friend who could fight anybody.").

In what is being called one of the more "outrageous" cases to come before the Ontario College of Teachers in the eight years it has overseen the province's teachers, Fabel is facing a disciplinary tribunal for charges of professional misconduct and incompetence three years after he was fired by the Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board for a reported breach of the Safe Schools Act, which outlines acceptable conduct for teachers as well as students.


Fabel declined to comment, even to confirm he is in his early 40s or that he no longer teaches, even though he remains a certified teacher "in good standing" with the College of Teachers until the tribunal rules on his case.

But the type of racist, sexist and sexual comments of which the one-time history teacher is accused contradicts everything society expects of teachers, says college spokeswoman Lois Browne.

A cluster of former colleagues who had come to Toronto to testify expressed frustration at another delay in a case that has dragged on for three years.

Fabel taught history, geography and sociology at St. Anne High School in Tecumseh, near Windsor, from 1997 to 2002, with the bulk of the complaints near the end of his tenure.

Browne said about one-quarter of formal complaints against teachers that are filed with the college end up in disciplinary hearings, which are adjudicated by three educators.

The article’s sidebar is where it gets quite funny on occasion.

Among the complaints cited in documents presented yesterday at the hearing:

· After the Columbine shooting, he entered the class pretending to be a gunman, causing students to cower under their desks.

· To the mother of two students at the start of a parent-teacher interview, he asked: "Who do you want to talk about first? Dumb or Dumber?"

· He told one student his mother was a "M.I.L.F." — meaning a "mother I'd like to f---."

· To a female Grade 10 student, Fabel said: "I was looking at Playboy magazine and saw someone who looked just like you."

· He spoke about his own sexual activities and offered tips to male students on "how to get into girls' pants."

· He mimicked an Italian accent and said Italians are fat and hairy and can only pursue careers in cement.

· He referred to a student as "a retard from the sticks."

As someone who makes a fair amount of politically incorrect comments at times, there’s a difference between talking to a few friends and making statements in a position of authority. It’s pretty obvious, in my mind anyway, when I’m joking and when I’m making an actual argument that I believe in. Furthermore, there’s a difference between making a statement that goes against the accepted truths and being deliberately hurtful and offensive or offering gross inaccuracies concerning the Holocaust. In conclusion, I have no idea how it took 5 years to fire this guy and then another 2 to bring him to the tribunal. And I’d have been seriously scarred if any of my teachers had called my mom a MILF.

Finally, to prove I’m an equal-opportunity blogger, I will provide this site’s readership with the alternative for those who were missing something when sitting through yesterday’s pictures of baseball wives.

First of all, check out this poll, which ranks soccer’s hottest players. Look who is at #19, who incidentally beats out Michael Owen. Incidentally, this is currently the second hit on Google for “hot soccer players”, so I’m not cherry-picking either. I don’t want to say I’m always right…but I win again.

Secondly, here’s a very nice picture of a shirtless Pat Burrell, who plays outfield for the Philadelphia Phillies.

Thirdly, here is a pic of Brady Anderson, former Orioles outfielder.
There’s a funny story that involves a fantasy draft a bunch of friends and I had for a baseball league in high school. When we were drafting one of us, not me, drafted Brady Anderson. I mentioned the fact that Brady Anderson was an icon in the gay community, for shots like the one linked above. Anyone, a friend of mine (we’ll call him RMD) immediately said to the guy who drafted Anderson, “I’ll trade you Cliff Floyd for Brady Anderson!” I still get a kick out of that story.

Finally, although Joe Mauer might give him a run for his money when he becomes more widely-known, Javy Lopez is still, by many people’s judgement, the hottest catcher in baseball.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Mr. Sulu Comes Out

I never watched Star Trek as a child, or as an adult, so I don’t really know George Takei beyond his voice work on The Simpsons. I must have seen about 12 minutes of Star Trek in my life and that’s enough for me to live on; I won’t be rushing to watch it anytime soon.

Anyhow, George Takei has recently disclosed that he is a homosexual. Although he’s been a practicing homosexual for years and has been in an 18-year relationship, only now does Takei feel comfortable enough to disclose his status to society at large. Let me congratulate Takei for finally reaching a stage where he can accept his sexual orientation and feels comfortable with that becoming a public part of his identity.

I can’t take credit for spotting this, but it’s interesting to note that when coming out Takei said:

"It's not really coming out, which suggests opening a door and stepping through. It's more like a long, long walk through what began as a narrow corridor that starts to widen."

Christ George, can you keep your pants on for two minutes? “Narrow corridor that begins to widen” after a “long, long” walk? I’m getting images of Takei that I never wanted after reading that phrase.

Baseball Players' Wives

I would title this “Part One”, but I am unable to ensure that this will be a multi-part feature. I certainly intend it to be. While unfair, if there is something professional sports players get judged on by geeky internet fans aside from their skill, it is how attractive their wives or girlfriends are. It’s territory that comes naturally to men and it’s fun to go around saying that Sidney Ponson’s girlfriend (or ex-girlfriend) has big tits (or so I’ve heard) or that I’d rather score with Mrs. Geoff Blum than Mrs. Henry Blanco (no idea if that’s true, as I couldn’t find pictures of either, but I imagine it is).

So while I don’t condone judging people on their looks alone, here are some pictures of a few wives and feel free to do exactly that. If interested, rank them in the comments section and maybe I’ll combine the two responses into one “definitive ranking system.” Maybe I’ll turn this into a hot wives tournament.

Cindy Conine: Even if you’re a mediocre corner-outfielder/first baseman on the wrong side of 30 you can still find a nice-looking lady. I would have some “nice-looking blonde,” but it’s basically implied with professional wives. Jeff signed a card for me once, so I know there’s a nice guy under his ornery demeanour.

Patty Biggio: I’ve got nothing but admiration for Craig Biggio. He’s an underrated player who will get into the Hall-of-Fame if there’s any justice in the baseball world and, quickly speaking, I would say he’s one of the top 10 second baseman of all-time. He finally made the World Series this year after spending 18 seasons with the Houston Astros. He always plays the game hard and he’s been one of my favourite ballplayers for years. The pic quality is a bit shoddy, but this is the first time Biggio may lose out to Conine in a contest of any kind.

Michelle Damon and Juliana Ramirez: Johnny, who appears to model his appearance after Jesus, scored an average-looking blonde, but I’m not that impressed. It’s a side-shot, but you think he could have found someone better who digs the hairy body, long locks and impish smile. She’s allright, but she doesn’t stand out. It’s a common refrain amongst baseball fans, which was actually coined by Manny Ramirez himself, that when Manny screws up it’s just “Manny being Manny.” A terrific hitter who sometimes plays with his head in the clouds, Manny certainly had his head on straight when he found Juliana. Here’s a second picture of her, and all I can say is that this little baby has the right idea.

Melissa Lima: What better way to end this than on a classic? When Jose Lima sung the National Anthem at Dodgers Stadium in 2004, with his wife Melissa Lima by his side, he seized to become the pitcher who coined the phrase “Lima Time” to summarise when he had success and he seized to be remember primarily for being one of the flukiest 20-game winners of the past half-century. Instead, he became the man with the wife. If you’re a man who prefers a certain female attribute you’ll love her and even if you aren’t, you have to remark that she’s a rare specimen. Here’s a second picture.

Comment away.

AJC Cartoon on Iraq

This cartoon which appeared in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution is apparently causing a minor-controversy in the Southern US, as people debate its merits and point. Over six hundred comments seems incredibly rare for a cartoon, and I’m sure it’s generated more mail/e-mails to the paper itself. Whether or not you agree with him, Mike Lukovich certainly got his point across publicly and has become the only newspaper editorial cartoonist I know by name in the States.

As for what I think personally, I can’t really say. It’s a simplification of a complex situation, but that’s inevitable in any political cartoon. I’d rather spend the next 20 minutes doing other things rather than trying to synthesise my thoughts on
Iraq. Nevertheless, if you download the PDF file you can gain an appreciation for the effort Lukovich put into it, compared to what he normally does. Whether or not he meant it, I can’t help drawing comparisons to the war when I look at the haphazard atmosphere of the cartoon.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Bill Watterson’s Privacy

Bill Watterson, the creator of Calvin and Hobbes, is a recluse. That’s been evident since he quit drawing Calvin and Hobbes in 1995, after 10 highly-successful years, when it was still as funny as it was the day he started. Watterson wrote briefly about his desire for privacy in the 10th anniversary book. The book also revealed Watterson’s strong-will natured, evident in his artistic integrity, such as his refusal to license the characters of Calvin and Hobbes for any merchandise.

However, it wasn’t until I stumbled across this article that I realised how private a man he is.

CHAGRIN FALLS, Ohio - Maybe someday, officials will put up a statue marking this quaint village as the birthplace of "Calvin and Hobbes"

His parents will say only that he's happy, but they won't say where he lives, and the cartoonist could not be reached for an interview.

His former editor, Lee Salem, also remains mum, saying only that as a painter Watterson started with watercolors and has evolved to oils.

"He's in a financial position where he doesn't need to meet the deadlines anymore," Salem says.

Watterson's parents respect — but have no explanation for — their son's extremely private nature. It doesn't run in the family. Kathryn is a former village councilwoman and Jim is seeking his fourth council term this fall. Their other son, Tom, is a high school teacher in Austin, Texas.

Bill Watterson, 47, hasn't made a public appearance since he delivered the commencement speech in 1990 at his alma mater, Kenyon College. But he recently welcomed some written questions from fans to promote the Oct. 4 release of the three-volume "The Complete Calvin and Hobbes," which contains every one of the 3,160 strips printed during its 10-year run.

Among his revelations:

• He reads newspaper comics, but doesn't consider this their golden age.

• He's never attended any church.

• He's currently interested in art from the 1600s.

Salem, who edited thousands of "Calvin and Hobbes" strips at Universal Press Syndicate, says that Watterson is private and media shy, not a recluse. Salem didn't want to see the strip end, but understood Watterson's decision.

"He came to a point where he thought he had no more to give to the characters," Salem says.

"Calvin and Hobbes" appeared in more than 2,400 newspapers during its run, one of the few strips to reach an audience that large.

Its success was rooted in the freshness of Calvin — an imaginative 6-year-old who has the immaturity of a child and the psychological complexity of a 40-year-old. As for Hobbes, the device of Calvin viewing him as alive and everybody else seeing him as a stuffed animal was simply brilliant, Salem says.

Their all-encompassing bond of friendship — being able to share joy and have fun together, yet get angry and frustrated with one another — was another reason for the strip's success.

But Universal liked "Calvin and Hobbes" and launched its run Nov. 18, 1985, in 35 newspapers. Calvin caught Hobbes in a tiger trap with a tuna sandwich in the first strip. He spent the next 10 years driving his parents crazy, annoying his crush, Susie Derkins, and playing make-believe as his alter egos Spaceman Spiff and Stupendous Man.

Many of the best moments, though, were time spent alone with his pal, Hobbes.

"The end of summer is always hard on me, trying to cram in all the goofing off I've been meaning to do," Calvin tells Hobbes in an Aug. 24, 1987 strip, the two sitting beneath a tree.

Watterson ended the strip on Dec. 31, 1995, with a statement: "I believe I've done what I can do within the constraints of daily deadlines and small panels. I am eager to work at a more thoughtful pace, with fewer artistic compromises."

The last strip shows Calvin and Hobbes sledding off after a new fallen snow. "It's a magical world, Hobbes, ol' buddy ... let's go exploring!" Calvin says in the final two panels.

Fans cried out in letters for Watterson to change his mind. Some, like Watterson's parents, say the funny pages haven't been the same since.

The last sentence of that article rings especially true. The funny pages haven’t been the same since Calvin and Hobbes and I doubt I will ever enjoy a comic as much as I did that one. Part of it is probably rooted in the fact I grew up with the strip (well, over the last two and three years) and the appeal that comics possess for children, as opposed to adults.

However, I have no doubt I could read the books in twenty years and still get a great laugh from them, which is something few strips can provide. None can provide it with the consistency and hilarity of Calvin and Hobbes. In fact, over the last 10 minutes I’ve firmly decided that at some point in my life I will own The Complete Calvin and Hobbes. It will not be out-of-place on my bookshelf, at all.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Jake Gyllenhaal on Film

Jake Gyllenhaal is going to become part of the A+-list (i.e. the top of the A-list) very soon. I don’t think he’s there yet, but he’s close. His leading role in Donnie Darko turned him from a nobody into a somebody and I’ve heard good things about The Good Girl, which I never saw. Over the past couple of years his role in the big-budget The Day After Tomorrow combined with his romance with Kirsten Dunst has turned him into one of the hottest young actors around.

However, this year Jake is in three movies, Proof, Brokeback Mountain and Jarhead. Proof, about the daughter of a brilliant mathematician who falls in love with one of her mentally disturbed father’s ex-students, got mediocre reviews from critics, but has got positive reviews from audiences who have seen the movie. I’ll likely see it on video sometime, as it does have some interesting elements to it.

On a side note, Jake is also currently filming Zodiac, a movie based on the still-unsolved Zodiac murders of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s in San Francisco. His random murders terrorised the city before abruptly coming to a halt and the identity of the killer has never been determined. The Zodiac Killer murdered 8 people, but he claimed to have killed as many as 17 (off-hand I think that was his highest claim) and some believed he could have killed as many as 50. As a true-crime buff I’m quite excited to see a story about the Zodiac, always one of my favourite cases (I referenced it when spoiling my ballot in a grade 6 class election – yes, I am a peculiar individual), on the big screen. And, the bonus that it will include Jake Glyenhaal (along with Mark Ruffalo, Gary Oldman and Chloe Sevigny – all good people) erases any doubt I had about seeing the movie.

Returning to the original post, I’m particularly excited to see Jake’s other two movies. I quite enjoy Sam Mendes as a director and feel confident he can adapt an ex-soldier’s memoirs about his time in Kuwait during the Gulf War into a compelling movie. Can Gyllenhaal accurately portray the complexity of wartime and its effects on an individual? We can only wait to find out, but I’m predicting positive, but not earth-shattering, reviews for the film. The gem of the three could be Brokeback Mountain, which I’m quite excited for. I don’t know if two hot young actors in the prime of their careers have ever played a pair of a lovers in a mainstream movie before and though it’s not nearly as much of a taboo as it would have been 20 years ago, I must commend Jake and Heath Ledger on accepting the role. Based on the Annie Proulx short story I think that this movie can capture the loneliness of closeted homosexuality forty years ago, particularly in Midwestern America. It’s about not only the taboo of gay sex, but also about the pain of hiding one’s true sexual feelings and romantic attachments behind a veil of secrecy. It will be interesting to see if Gyllenhaal, Ledger and director Ang Lee can make this movie feel authentic, but if they can I think it may well ring true as one of the most honest love stories on film of the past year.

And, if you’re already a Gyllenhaal fan and think I was late to the party, think again. If anything, I am the leader of this train. I was speaking highly of him like two or three years ago. Ask Sophie, if you doubt me.

The New Yorker and Baseball Cartoons, 1943-1945

Here is a study of baseball cartoons in the New Yorker from 1943-1945. This will give us some insight into how frequently the New Yorker deals with baseball and it will also allow us to determine if New Yorker cartoons are ever funny. Thanks to Hayford Peirce, whose work I am partially borrowing. And yes, I do have very random blog topics.

In 1943, out of 777 cartoons, there were absolutely 0 concerning baseball. There were a number of boxing cartoons, but fewer cartoons about other sports than in the past few years.

In 1944, out of 829 cartoons, there were 6 about baseball and a number of boxing cartoons:

#105. February 12th. Museum scene. Lots of small boys looking at an abstract, apparently female nude sculpture that also might be interpreted as an arm and hand holding a ball. Flustered lady looking at a guide book says: "No. 33. The - er - Baseball Player."

I don’t get it. He doesn’t really look like a baseball player, but he could be sort of seen as one in the right light. I guess it’s about how you will come up with any excuse to avoid showing small children nudity. But it’s not funny.

#256. Catcher standing behind batter at plate and saying to ump: "I can't crouch down. That's why I'm still in baseball."

A catcher doesn’t stand, he crouches. I guess this is a wartime joke that baseball catchers are no longer able to bend down, because if they could bend down, they’d be fighting in the war. Kinda amusing, maybe makes you smile.

#382. A Pacific island village. 8 GIs are clustered around a thatched-roof hut listening to a large radio set. One native to another: "I'm rooting for the St. Louis Browns. I understand they have never won a pennant."

It’s funny. The Browns never win and the joke is that even people living on remote islands know about this. Imagine a similarly themed joke about the Clippers or Bengals or someone’s objectionable odour.

#429. White-smocked peanut vendor in stands with 5-Cents sign on his cap to potential customer: "Be right back. I'm up next."

Another war joke. The joke is that ushers are doubling as players. I prefer the counter-intuitive joke of #256. Mildly amusing

#502. Ump and a cluster of players looking into (apparently) crowded double-deck stands. "We've only got eight. Anybody here ever play second base?"

See above. I think this maybe the worst of the three similarly-themed joke.

#558. Batter to ump signalling a strike. "I beg to differ."

I do not get it. Is it funny because he’s polite and not cursing? Is this some joke concerning phrasing of the 1940’s? I’d be pretty amused if I saw a real-life example of a player saying, “I beg to differ” in an argument, but in a cartoon it doesn’t work.

In 1945, out of 792 cartoons, 4 concerned baseball:

#290. One elderly coach to another as they look at a dugout full of apparently older players: "Pop! Pop! Everybody's Pop! What this team needs is a complete new set of nicknames."

A commentary on the lack of uniqueness of nicknames in general, particularly among this set of aged players. This could be a mediocre In the Bleachers and nobody would be the wiser.

#379. An imposing wall with "Eingang" and an arrow on it, as well as an imposing swastika on top of the wall, apparently the exterior of a large stadium in
Germany. A uniformed soldier with a baseball glove on one hand is peering over the top of the wall and pointing down to an elderly pedestrian at a baseball lying at the foot of the wall.

Soldiers are playing baseball. We get it. Can you blame them? I can’t.

#384. Three GIs lying in grass beside a German bunker listening to a radio. One solider is making entries on an inning by inning scoreboard on the wall of the bunker. "Dodgers" is the name of one of the teams.

Is this a joke on dodging bombs and shrapnel? Why is Dodgers so significant here? Otherwise I’d assume it’s just a simple, bad joke about GIs listening to baseball in the middle of war.

#399. Grandparents (?) in store with a 3- or 4-year old boy. The matronly lady is holding a baseball bat as if ready to swing it.

Not funny. I do not get it. Help me.

So, in conclusion, New Yorker cartoons deserve their reputation as not-that-funny and often inexplicable.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Onion Sports

If you’re a sports fan in any sense of the word, it’s certainly worth checking out the new sports section over at The Onion. I’ve not been too impressed with the satirical newspaper recently. I’m not sure if the novelty’s worn off or if it’s just a sub-par set of editors and writers, but the magic that characterised a few years ago seems to have vanished. While it’s still funny from time to time, there are more misses than hits and it’s becoming increasingly rarer to stumble across a gem article, which you’d find almost every week a while ago.

As I said, maybe I’m being harsh on them and it’s more a function of the fact that the paper is no longer new, but I certainly think there is lots of room for improvement. Nevertheless, one thing I must praise the current set of writers/editors for is the new sports section. Sports seemed like a logical area for The Onion to expand into. It’s popular, it’s got a lot of great material that lends itself to satire well and it’s something that a bunch of men in their twenties would presumably know a lot about and be able to relate to. In the few sports articles over the past couple of years The Onion always hit the mark and recently they decided to add it as a permanent feature.

There have been some great articles over the past few weeks, but I think the best concerns twelve-fingered relief pitcher Antonio Alfonseca entitled, “Antonio Alfonseca Once Again Leads Major-Relievers in Fingers.”

MIAMI—Florida Marlins pitcher Antonio Alfonseca dominated the MLB in appendages for the ninth straight year, finishing the 2005 season with a league-leading 12 fingers. Alfonseca, who made his debut with the Marlins in 1997 and wasted no time making this particular statistical category his own, led the NL for almost the entire season, only falling into a close second during an unusual two-week period in mid-August. Alfonseca's performance will trigger a $1 million bonus, as the Marlins signed him to an incentive-laden, oft-criticized, finger-enumeration-based contract. "Antonio has been through a lot this season, including some elbow problems and a trip to the DL," manager Jack McKeon said. "But in the end, he just went out there and had a lot of fingers." There was once again a tie for second place behind Alfonseca, with 214 pitchers amassing 10 fingers each, followed by Bob Wickman, who finished last with 9.7.

The two-week period in August and 9.7 fingers of Wickman are random funny Onion lines in the article, particularly when one begins speculating how Wickman lost 1/3rd of a finger. My guess is the rotund reliever ate it. The whole article is a nice commentary on what some would call baseball’s overtly statistical concerns. However, the best line is McKeon’s fake quote. If you’ve ever listened to a manger’s post-game press conference you’ll know that the newspaper got the parody dead-on.

Friday, October 14, 2005

The Pitfalls of Engagement

Apparently there’s a big controversy down in Minnesota because members of the Minnesota Vikings, the NFL team, had a sex party on a cruise ship. They have been accused of having public sex on the ship, harassing the female waitresses and urinating on public property.

There was an article on the accusations recently in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, which included perhaps the funniest string of sentences I’ve read in while. The article includes a quote from running back Mewelde Moore, in which he discusses whether or not he was on the boat. Moore is quoted as saying:

"Sex? What are you talking about? That's crazy. ... Look, I'm engaged. So none of that. That will put me in trouble."

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Tom Cheek, 1939-2005

Anything I write in memory of this man would come out sounding inarticulate and would not be anything near the tribute he deserves. So, I'm simply noting his passing with a great deal of sadness and many happy memories. I also wish he had been elected to Cooperstown in the summer. While he would have received the news with typical humility, it would have been a well-deserved end to his baseball career and a fitting reflection upon his talent in the broadcast booth, as well as his incredibly caring and friendly nature.

He was the Voice of the Blue Jays and he will always be remembered.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Upheaval in African Soccer

Today was an unprecedented day in African soccer as four nations qualified for the World Cup that have never done so before. Tunisia qualified for the last place from Africa, and they have made it to the World Cup before, first in 1978 and also in 1998 and 2002. They have never made it past the first round, although they did Mexico in the 1978 tournament.

The four new nations to qualify are Angola, Ghana, Cote D’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) and Togo. On one hand, it’s always exciting and the five new teams in this year’s World Cup, at current count, give it the most new nations since the 1982 World Cup also had five. If another team joins the four African nations and Ukraine in the competition, this year’s tournament will have the most new teams since the 10 of the 1934 World Cup, which was also a large product of travel arrangements. The last few spots always tend to produce some new teams, and I think we’ll end up with probably six new teams in Germany, possibly seven, with Bahrain, Uzbekistan and Guatemala among the possible contenders.

So, on one hand I’m quite happy to see this new blood in the World Cup. However, when new teams enter the tournament it means that old teams did not qualify. Cameroon’s Indomitable Lions, the darlings of the 1990 World Cup when they became the first African nation to make the quarterfinals, where they lost in Extra Time to England came second in African Qualifying Group Three, finishing behind Cote D’Ivoire. Cameroon won the African Nations Cup in 2000 and 2002 and it is a shame in many ways that they are not at the tournament.

Senegal, who shocked France in the opening game of World Cup 2002 and became the second African nation to make the quarterfinals, was stunned by Togo in Group One, as Togo beat the Republic of Congo 3-2 to finish 2 points ahead of Senegal. This means that Papa Bouba Diop, Mamadou Diallo and El Hadji Diop will all miss the World Cup.

I was personally saddened the most by the news out of Group Four. Nigeria routed Zimbabwe 5-1, but as Angola defeated Rwanda 1-0 they won the group. Both Nigeria and Angola had the same number of points, but Angola did better in head-to-head competition and thus qualified for the tournament. The Super Eagles are my favourite national football team for which I owe no ancestral loyalty. I think they play some of the most exciting football on the planet and they do possess some of the most skilled individual players. It’s a joy to watch a Nigeria game, especially after sitting through a dreadful Italian affair, and I always make it a point to watch all of their games live. I know I make it a point to watch as much of the World Cup as I can, but I especially watch out for Nigerian football. No Nigeria means no Taribo West, no Celestine Babayaro, no Sunday Oliseh, no Aiyegbeni Yakubu, no Jay-Jay Okocha and no Obafemi Martins. Martins is apparently one of the most talented teenage players on the globe, and I was quite looking forward to seeing him in action. While I will hopefully see him in 2010, by that time many mainstays of the last few Nigerian teams will have retired, including Okocha.

For Nigeria’s failure to qualify and for the fact that I will never see some of these fine men in Nigerian green again, I shed a tear.

Friday, October 07, 2005

BNL Concert

I know they're not everyone's cup of tea, but anyone interested in a BNL concert on Friday, November 25th at Massey Hall? I think I've found a guy here to go with, but I figured I'd give a shout out before buying tickets later this weekend. They're a great live show.

If you're interested, let me know ASAP.