Thursday, June 15, 2006

Matt's Back!

Matt at The Tattered Coat is back from his scholarly hiatus. While we're thrilled to have his voice back in the mix, he seems to be operating under the insane apprehension that Argentina is going to take the World Cup. We'll indulge his sweet little pipe-dream for the nonce; as they say in Russian-lit circles, it doesn't matter until Pushkin comes to Shovkin.

Enger-land owe John Terry a peerage or something.


eRobin said...

Whoa! Good news!

Matt said...

Thanks so much, Neddie!

You know, I could have gone with an obvious pick, like, I don't know . . . the team that won its first match by the largest goal differential? But over at the Tattered Coat, we strive to look past the glittery surfaces in order to discover the hidden gems. That penetrating analysis -- and the fact that we absolutely refuse to write under the influence of horse-strength painkillers, except on Sunday mornings -- is what separates us from the rest of the blogging pack.

We can agree on John Terry's save, though -- wow!

Matt said...

So, after a good night's sleep, it strikes me that perhaps poking a convalescent man in the ribs is not the kindest way to respond to a very sweet welcome-back post.

But the real reason for this second response is that I'd like to thank Neddie publicly for offering me the benefit of his considerable web design acumen as I redesigned my site. His suggestions were invaluable, and his knowledge of web design -- like his knowledge of just about everything else -- is considerable. The fact that he gave me that advice on the frightful eve of his surgery only makes the man's generosity that much more astounding.

So, thanks, Neddie.

I won't even gloat about Argentina's performance this morning. That would display a level of crassness I hope to avoid in the future.

But, 5-0, and the game isn't even over yet.


helmut said...

Welcome back, sweet post, and all that....

Argentina poops its collective pants. There's nothing sparkling about picking Argentina. But there's also nothing sparkling about wracking up 6 goals on man-down Serbia-Montenegro. No need to gloat; that's already crass.

How about that Angola today?

Neddie said...

Angola: Showed them Meskins up for what they are, that's the troof.

But what really gobsmacked me about the Angolans was the fact that their national flag still uses a stylized hammer-and-sickle emblem! Did you notice that? Does even North Korea still use that?

Strangely, the banner the Angolan fans were waving in the stands was somewhere halfway between the two flags seen at

It's become softer, now, more treated, more stylized, but it's still unmistakably the old slash-and-smash of Uncle Joe's day. Wow.

(Korea: No, apparently, they never did: Theirs combines the hammer, sickle and writing brush:

helmut said...

I did notice the flag. When it was waving it looked like the hammer and sickle, required a double-take.

I've noticed that same hammer and sickle symbol on American buildings built before 1917, especially land-grant universities. Kind of a universal symbol of agricultural work... until the Soviet Union.

Matt said...

I understand that picking Argentina is not akin to staking my money on Togo, Helmut. I meant that diamond-in-the-rough talk in jest, even if it didn't come off that way.

I believe that four of their goals came before the red card. The "don't pile it on" attitude works fine in youth soccer, but I'll take my World Cup team red in tooth and claw, whether that's crass or not.

And, anyway, I don't consider Serbia to be a roll-over team. I believe they took first place in their qualifying group, one that included Spain.

helmut said...

Just joshing, Matt. Someone told me the other day at my blog that I was being mean-spirited about soccer / football. The guy was English and an England fan. I found the irony delicious - soccer has arrived in the US! - and decided to play the blogooligan. Perhaps I shouldn't have brought it over to Ned's place.

And, yes, Serbia apparently didn't allow a goal in the qualifying. That bodes well for Argentina's chances. But I still don't like 'em.

You're not an Italy fan, are you?

Matt said...

Thanks, Helmut. My fan-club card is newly minted; I decided to root for Argentina after watching every team's first game. I didn't want to pick Brazil (too easy), and I really liked what I saw in Argentina's first match. It's just fun to have a horse in the race.

I'm curious to know what bothers you about them. Hand of God, perhaps?

No strong feelings about Italy one way or the other. I thought they looked very fast, and played a little dirty, in their game against Ghana. I think they'll beat the U.S. handily.

Neddie said...

I'm curious to know what bothers you about them. Hand of God, perhaps?

Che, voludo! Son argentinos! ¿No es esto suficiente? Los argentinos son los Yanquis de Nueva York del cono sureño del continente sudamericano. Pidáte la opinión de los chilenos, los urugayos.

Huevónes carajos! Merecen un gran uufbckam, el sonido de una pelota de fútbol pegando la cabeza de una oveja Malviña.

(Can you flippin' believe that WV word???? uufbckam! Gotta be some kind of portent! I'm switchin' to Enger-land!)

helmut said...

I think I might be seconding Ned's comment....

Argentina is the Italy of South America. Diving (they both have a diving coach), spitting (and spitting coach), whining, elbowing, and generally look to cheat in any way they can get away with. Italy is best at this game. Argentina is second best.

Plus, lots of other South Americans detest them because they think they're European.

helmut said...

"Uufbckm" is Swedish for "check out that handsome but really slow Engerlander."

Matt said...

Los argentinos son los Yanquis de Nueva York del cono sureño del continente sudamericano.

Well, that's fitting, since I am (get ready to cringe) a Yankees fan. What can I say? I was born into it . . .

I appreciate the education, Neddie and Helmut. But I assure you that I made my decision to root for Argentina purely on their passing in their first match (a 2-1 win over Ivory Coast), and not on their Yankees-like domination or their flying elbows. I'm not sure whether that speaks well or ill of me. Next time, I'll definitely do my homework.

At any rate, considering the outcome of the U.S. - Italy game, I'm just glad that I'm not a betting man.

Matt said...

June 26, 2006, after Italy - Australia: okay, Helmut, now I hate Italy.