Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Deja Vu All Over Again

I have this feeling that I've already seen the Cowboys' upcoming season. Yes, it's ridiculously premature to go off and start this kind of talk and I have as much insight regarding football as I do any other sport, which is zip, but I have to say it, nevertheless. This nagging premonition is too strong to ignore.

As the new season gets underway there is a clearly familiar aspect to it. And it's not something that forebodes great success. The new head coach, Wade Phillips, very much appears to fall in with the ranks of the Switzers, Gaileys and Camposes. That is, none had any air of authority and all were quite willing to be yes-men to Jones. We all know how the years with those coaches at the helm turned out.

Jerry Jones is most likely not a very patient man and I'm thinking he's sick and tired of listening to someone else, only to continually have the long lost object of his desire end up out of his reach. He got so close last season. So, I wager he's thinking he's got one hell of a talented team including one hell of a talented young quarterback - the head coach not being very important at this point.

Jones has never been satisfied to be just the owner of the Dallas Cowboys, he wants to be part of the team itself. He would much prefer to pace along the sidelines, willing his team on to victory rather than sit passively in the owner's suite. Now he sees the opportunity to take his Cowboys all the way - on his terms - head coaches be damned. It will be interesting to see if Phillips can manage to keep him off the sidelines where his appearance is so obviously detrimental that I can't understand how Jones sees it otherwise. But, the man is a control freak, he can't help it. That may be a good trait in business, but it has worked against him in the game of football.

Jerry, Jerry, Jerry... Did you not learn anything from those disastrous years between Johnson and Parcells?

It is not my intention to disparage Wade Phillips as a person, and I have no idea what he's done professionally, but from all appearances the man does not come off as someone who can lead a team to the Super Bowl. In fact, he reminds me of the Pillsbury Doughboy. Totally. This was the first thought that popped into my head the day he was introduced as the new head coach of the Dallas Cowboys.

A jovial and good-guy demeanor may work well for a team player, but not for a head coach. Football players, even the pros, especially the pros, need a tough, no-nonsense coach to keep them in line. This is what they know, what they expect from their coaches, even though some will often grumble about him - it is usually those types who most require the uncompromisingly high expectations of a winning head coach. This is how they got where they are.

Parcells was that kind of a coach and the high-caliber team Phillips has inherited is entirely of his making. Though age and mileage had taken a lot out of The Big Tuna by the time he signed on with the Cowboys, he still was an authoritative figure, a force to be reckoned with, and the players knew it. The results of his tenure speak for themselves. It's a shame Parcells didn't finish his career with one additional Super Bowl win on his record.

I really hate to be saying all this, because Wade Phillips seems like a very nice man and also because he's an honest to goodness, born and bred Texan, but I have serious doubts that a smiley doughboy is going to have the same results as that Yankee curmudgeon. The media love Phillips because he is giving them all the time in the world, unlike Parcells, who usually told them to get stuffed. And why shouldn't he be happy to have the media fawn all over him? Phillips is thrilled just to be where he is - the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys! What happens afterwards is almost secondary. This is the difference between a proven winner like Parcells and one who has yet to reach those heights, especially at an already advanced age.

I'm going by my gut feeling here, so I hope I'm way off and being unduly pessimistic. Maybe there is much more to Wade Phillips than meets this admittedly naive eye. Maybe the team will play to its full potential under this kinder, gentler head coach. Maybe we'll be celebrating a wildly successful season, even a Super Bowl appearance - barring any freak fiascos as occurred in the last ill-fated playoff game. But, if it goes the way I suspect it will, as history is wont to repeat itself, and the Cowboys' performance degenerates into a mere shadow of what was displayed last season - Jerry will have only himself to blame. And I will be thoroughly pissed off. Sometimes it's just no fun at all being right.

Update: Watching the news earlier today. The players are calling training camp - camp cupcake. How nice for them. They could end up calling the season - toast.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Jessica - The Cutest Hippo Ever

Thanks to Spacebunny and TeenyTiny for introducing me to Jessica, the adorable pet hippopotamus.

The word hippopotamus means river horse. But really now, these rotund characters are more like river piggies. Piggipotamus would have been a better name. Here's the story of a sweetie hippo named Jessica, taken straight from the site.

Update: I found a video of Jessica. She's quite a special hippo.

The story of the extraordinary friendship between human and hippo is told in 'Jessica the Hippo', that was shown on the Animal Planet channel on Thursday, June 28 at 9pm. Jessica is a celebrity!

As a baby she was washed up on the riverside lawn of game warden Tonie Joubert

He hand-reared her

She grew and grew and grew

And she now weighs three-quarters of a ton or 110 stone

But is simply one of the family

She eats, sleeps, swims and plays at home in South Africa

Just like any other pet

She likes her food . . .

. . . And drinks 10 litres of sweet warm coffee a day

Jessica plays with the other pets

Cleans the puppies

Grooms them

Sleeps with them

Eats treats with them

Plays games with the dogs

Like any pet, she doesn't like the vet

But does like a nice bed . . .

. . . Inside the house

Even if the other family members aren't so keen

At the end of a hard day, she likes nothing better ...

Than a good rest with a dear friend

Or under the covers

Outside on the porch

Goodnight, Jessica

I want a piggipotamus!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Poor Baby

NAIROBI (AFP) - A baby hippopotamus that survived the tsunami waves on the Kenyan coast has formed a strong bond with a giant male, century-old tortoise in an animal facility in the port city of Mombassa, officials said. The hippopotamus, nicknamed Owen and weighing about 300 kilograms (650 pounds), was swept down Sabaki River into the Indian Ocean , then forced back to shore when tsunami waves struck the Kenyan coast on December 26, before wildlife rangers rescued him.

"It is incredible. A less-than-a-year-old hippo has adopted a male tortoise, about a century old, and the tortoise seems tobe very happy with being a 'mother'," ecologist Paula Kahumbu, who is in charge of Lafarge Park , told AFP.

"After it was swept away and lost its mother, the hippo was traumatized. It had to look for something to be a surrogate mother. Fortunately, it landed on the tortoise and established a strong bond. They swim, eat and sleep together," the ecologist added. "The hippo follows the tortoise exactly the way it followed its mother. If somebody approaches the tortoise, the hippo becomes aggressive, as if protecting its biological mother," Kahumbu added.

"The hippo is a young baby, he was left at a very tender age and by nature, hippos are social animals that like to stay with their mothers for four years," he explained.

Sunday, July 15, 2007


There is no logic, rhyme or reason for the devastating, humiliating and heartbreaking outcome of this Copa America final.

Brazil played well, but Argentina was as if in a trance. Something sinister was afoot in Maracaibo this afternoon - voodoo, black magic, bad mojo - you know, Brazilian stuff. Don't let that giant Jesus statue overlooking Rio fool you.

It's as if us Albiceleste fans have been assaulted. It was certainly a crime to end such a wonderful display of Argentine soccer throughout the entire tournament in such a dismal manner. Oh, how the players themselves must feel.

There was nothing to be done after this incredible disappointment. I immediately went outside and spent four hours hacking away at limbs with a machete and garden scissors, muttering to myself like some loony bird. The plants needed cutting back and I needed to abuse something. It worked out well.

I won't be embedding any video. Forget it. There's nothing good to see. Argentina was trounced 3 to 0, one of which was an autogoal! I think that one just sucked the life out of the team. Bloody hell.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Too Much For Mehico

A strong Mexican team provided the Albiceleste with a good opportunity to play some sensational soccer. Mexico gave it all they had but Argentina, of course, was superior.

Messi is simply spectacular. It's like he's doing the samba with that hip movement of his. The way he cooly lobbed the ball over the outstretched, helpless keeper and into the back corner of the net was a thing of beauty. Sanchez will relive that one in his nightmares.

Riquelme is a cool operator himself. In that penalty kick he simply forced the keeper to commit, then with a serene elegance placed the ball into the net. Or, as aptly described by another blogger - it was a Zen penalty kick.

The goalkeeper was merely another spectator as he could do nothing but watch Heinze (shown in the pic) execute his flying tiger move. Yes, I do believe Sanchez's nightmares will be filled with a mess of white and blue.

We got it all. That's why the Albiceleste are going to the finals!!! How fun it would be to be there on Sunday, surrounded by my fellow Argentines, cheering on the guys. There's nothing quite like attending an international soccer match. Oh, and while I'm there in Venezuela, I could assassinate Chavez - but not until after the match.

Let's see here. Argentina beat Mexico. Mexico beat Brazil. The property of the transitivity of inequalities states that:
if a > b and b > c; then a > c. Yep. Mathematics is on our side as well.

Argentina 3 - 0 Mexico

Monday, July 9, 2007

Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! 4-0

The Albiceleste just keep getting better.

What do I know about soccer? Not much, except that I love watching Argentina play. And when they make a goal I jump up and down a lot. I'd make a good soccer groupie...

Anyhow, it was a great game, even though it was 0-0 at the half. We had some scoring chances and dominated the first half, but things weren't clicking. Then Tevez came on to start the second half. Within 90 seconds, GOOOOOOOOOL! After that, we had our way with Peru, scoring 3 more goals.

If you notice, when our guys celebrate a goal, they will often kiss each other on the cheek. It's what we do. Men kiss men, men kiss women, women kiss women, women kiss men - we all kiss. When an Argentine friend arrives or leaves, it's kisses all around for everyone - even if they've never met before. It's a very nice custom, I think.

Speaking of kissing, I do miss Crespo.

Argentina 4 - 0 Peru

Thursday, July 5, 2007

So Far, So Perfect

Argentina, less 8 of their starters, finished atop Group C with a perfect 3 wins, 0 losses with tonight's solid display against a Paraguayan team that only needed a draw to stay in first place. Things were going their way at 0-0 until a double substitution in the 67th minute put Messi and Mascherano on the pitch, spoiling Paraguay's plans in the 79th minute.

And Abbondanzieri must have regained some confidence with his performance today. It could have been a different ending had he not made a couple of good saves.

As the only unbeaten team in the Copa, Argentina goes into the quarter finals with some well rested starters against Peru on Sunday.

Three down, three to go. Looks very good.

The M&M's get it done:

And now for some amusing moments in soccer :

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Not So Happy Birthday To Our USA

I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands: one Nation under God, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.

Right. Excuse me while I slam down my glass of wine and laugh hysterically. Who can recite this with a straight face and their hand over their heart?

Today's verse of the day can't be a coincidence. Psalm 33:12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people he chose for his inheritance.

The god of the United States of America is not the Lord. It will go the way of all the other nations throughout history who have turned away from God. They get annihilated, conquered, or fester under a soulless oppression.

As there are no nations whose God is the Lord, it stands to reason that we're on our own, as individuals. There is no longer sanctuary within the boundaries of a nation. Not a single one. The level of corruption is not yet uniform, but the coming New World Order will make it all nice and evenly horrendous.

The quaint group, including George Washington and Betsy Ross, depicted in the painting above would think they had died and gone to hell if they were to awaken from their big sleep and walk about this fallen country.

Could you imagine George Washington sitting at the White House, chatting with George Bush, asking him about what's been going on here in the last 208 years since his death? That would be one interesting conversation.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Argentina Wins, I Cry A Little

Hernán, Get Well Soon. Sigh...
Argentina advances to the quarter finals with a 4-2 win over Colombia but it was not a well-played game, with the flow too frequently interrupted by fouls. An overdue red card came out in the 90th minute against Colombia's little hot-headed, Vargas. There is no love lost between the Albiceleste and los Cafeteros.

Abbondanzieri, Argentina's goalkeeper, was not impressive.

WAAAAAAAAAAA! We lost our beautiful striker, Hernán Crespo, to an injury. He will not likely return to the Copa as he pulled a muscle in his right leg sending a mega-powerful penalty kick right down the center and into the net to score our first goal of the match, his third of the tournament.

I don't recall what I did, but cherry pits went flying everywhere when I saw him pull up, limping. It was not a pretty sight, me on the floor, gathering cherry pits, whimpering. Oh, I love watching him play. He really has heart. I'm just sick. It's not going to be the same without Crespo. I am so going to miss those lips, er, um, I mean, kicks. Maybe it's not as bad as they're saying.

Here are the goals: