Wednesday, June 28, 2006


Today I felt at a loss with no scores to check and no matches to follow. What will I do after the final? I did a bit of organizing today and guess I will do some more catching up. I read a clip my mom had cut out from a newspaper during her recent trip to Scotland about a rare postcard that was found under the lining paper of a drawer. The postcard was dated 1883 and addressed to barristers in Victoria; the cool thing is that the address is the two block street where I work. I work in a heritage building, one of about three on the short street, so it may have been sent to my building all those years ago. Cool!

Sunday, June 25, 2006


Today, I went through the pain of watching Holland versus Portugal. It was painful to watch due to endless dirty play, cautions and red cards, and the fact that the Dutch brought shame upon themselves because they did not redeem the mistakes they made: Cocu who passed when he was in the penalty zone rather than shooting came closest to redemption when he hit the crossbar (see what happens when you shoot, the ball actually goes near the net). Robben said he could play much better when he played against Serbia. Where was he today? I know he was double teamed, but come on! Kuyt passed rather than shot and then when his chance came he kicked the ball right into the goalie rather than going around the goalie or shooting up high. Van Persie and later Van der Vaart were the only players that seemed to get the urgency of this game : elimination. Delivery has been a common problem among the Dutch this round (I talked about the heart-attacks they caused me by not scoring insurance goals, previously). They have very few finishers. The good news is that their finishers are young and I look forward to great things from van Persie, especially. I just hope that he stays out of Holland until the next World Cup so no one can convince him it is better to pass rather than shoot when you are in the penalty zone. Portugal deserved to win despite all their dirty work and if it weren't for Van der Sar the score would be even worse. Hopefully for Holland someone will be able to fill his shoes for the next World Cup (if they qualify). Until redemption it's sackcloth and ashes and lots of hard work.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Lag Effect

Last night while I was trying to sleep after a very long workday --see the last post-- I was thankful that I did overwhelm my body with coffee. Unfortunately, at times I have loaded up while studying and heard my own heart pound and stayed up much longer than required. It is difficult to calculate how long the stimulant will last over how long it is required for and how much is needed to stay awake for that required time. The lag effect of the economy, however, is much more difficult to predict.

This thought originated yesterday when I was cycling to work and saw all the new construction in Victoria. "Will there be enough demand?" was my question. The lag in construction is considerable, given the time between planning and finishing. I think most of the mid-to-late eighties when many lost there shirts being spread to thin or investing too late. When does the wave crest and when does it break? There is time, if you can surf well enough, to get out even at this latter stage; if, however, you ride it too long you will be washed up on shore and have to take the long and hard journey out to the swells. The fear of missing activity compels one to push on and assume that demand will not be quenched : what if more people move here? If you drop in late you are toast, so I would ignore the "what if" and wait for the next great swell. I was, however, proven wrong about interest rates as I predicted they would have started to rise long before they did. The signs of the Reagan era are here : high defence spending and high gas prices (although they have a diminished effect on inflation to the eighties recession). I do not monger fear, but recommend not taking uncalculated risks based on unceasing demand : just look at all that fiber-optic cable that has not paid for itself ten-years later.

Bang! Bang!

I am writing this after only 3 hours of sleep --during the last half-hour my daughter screamed constantly because her hair was being washed, so it wasn't a quality three hours. Neil Young's Living with War is on and last night begins to flood into my conscience. I went to work purposefully late yesterday to prepare for the long day ahead because I was hired by a film company to be a liaison for our building. The film company told me I would end between 11 and 2, but 5:30 turned out to be the time. Anyway, I made some decent money and got to see the large number of people exercising at that time on a Saturday morning.

It was pretty cool to be "part" of the crew and I was shuttled off to lunch with other workers at around 10:30. I was able to put in an eleven hour day of work, but couldn't focus so late at night so I watched the filming for the remainder of my long shift. At one point I was imprisoned upstairs because they were filming on the stairs. Repeatedly the prop-man handed a gun to an actor and yelled, "The gun is hot." The scene consisted of a woman who is kidnapped by some guy, the kidnapper shoots a cop and as they go down the stairs the victim breaks free and grabs the gun from the dead cop and kills the criminal. Funnily enough, at one point the actor playing the criminal got hurt so there was real blood with all that fake blood. Bang! Bang! still rings in my ears from the firing of all those blanks.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Football Poetry

Well, Spain came back, but there is still a chance for Tunisia if they can beat the Ukraine by two goals. The compilation The Beautiful Game in National Geographic (June 2006) really pumped me up for the World Cup. The map is awesome, especially the chart that shows that 218 million watched the Final in 2002 compared to 127 million for the opening ceremony of the 2004 Olympics and to 95 million for the 2004 Super Bowl. Given my interest in the Classics I particularly enjoyed Robert Coover's article Morality Play: Soccer as Theatre:

The explanations advanced for soccer's intense mysterious power, the trancelike quality of great matches, its worldwide domination over all other sports, have been many...Soccer has often been compared to Greek Tragedy, or seen as a kind of open-ended morality play. Perhaps the difficulty in scoring...intensifies this sense of theatre, causing the denouement--or collective catharsis--to be withheld almost always until the final whistle.

I hope to read some more of Coover's works in the future (on the web version of the article he supplies an article on Spain).


Renovations and upkeep have filled my waking hours lately, so it has been a while since I blogged. I have run the gamut of emotions watching the World Cup Finals : despair, anxiety and elation. My genetic makeup comprises of 50 percent Dutch (25 percent Dutch-born, 25 percent Chinese immigrant) and 50 percent Scottish. Since China and Scotland never make it to the Finals, the Netherlands is my team. Now I mostly watch games feeding and distracting my two year-old daughter to keep her away from the TV. I used to visit Holland quite regularly as a child and recall the severity of punishment if my brother or I breathed too loud during a game. Now, when I watch Holland I hardly breathe, since they never score that insurance goal and give their opponents too many chances during the last 15 minutes of play when their chances of scoring would be slim. Whew! I will be even tenser on Wednesday when they play Argentina, who has just come off a 6 goal win against a team that Holland only scored one goal against. So far, the FIFA rankings do not match performance, since the Czechs lost and both Holland and Brazil have not played to their potential (the top 3 rated teams).

I am very excited about the remaining 3 African teams that have a chance to proceed. Tunisia is ahead 1 to nil right now (Joga Companion Rules!!) against Spain and a victory today will help them greatly. Ghana has the best chance; if they can beat the USA by more than one goal they will proceed, due to Italy's poor performance yesterday. If Mexico loses against Portugal, a possibility, and Angola defeats Iran, a high probability, then they will proceed. That would be awesome for a team that just earned their first World Cup Finals point by holding Mexico to no goals.


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