28 May 2006

Phased by the Cup

It's the middle of a lazy Sunday. Yesterday I managed to do some work, in addition to some laundry. I also spoke to my mother, who is moving at the end of this week. Helen, my wife, is going to help her move.

However, my real passion at the moment is football! I'm so hyped about the World Cup that the only thing I'm thinking about is the warm-up match between the US and Latvia. Let me bring you up-to-date, in case you haven't been following. The US lost to Morocco 0-1 last Tuesday on a last minute goal. The US team played uninspired football and looked like the country that wasn't going to Deutschland. If they play like that in the tournament, it's going to be like the 4-1 loss to Poland in 2002. Friday, the back-ups played Venezuela and looked very good, especially Bobby Convey. I don't understand why US Coach Bruce Arena decided to play the second team, but if it lights a fire under the first team, great. Today's match should be reminiscent of the Morocco match, with Latvia playing a counter-attack without much sustained offense.

[Here's a heads-up: I will be posting World Cup stuff for the next month and a half.]

Here are the issues that I hope to see resolved in today's match:

  • Can Eddie Lewis secure the left back position? Without him, can we really ask Carlos Bocanegra to play there every game?

  • Who will play right midfield? Clint Dempsey has looked very good, but perhaps DeMarcus Beasley is a better option, even if it isn't his natural side.

  • Is the Landon Donovan and Brian McBride combination really the best tandem at forward? I hope that Eddie Johnson gets the opportunity to play with McBride today, because I suspect that they, backed up by Donovan from midfield, will be much more potent.

I should be clear that I trust Bruce Arena's judgement. However, I'm not convinced by some of the talk that is being bandied around. The idea of the US playing a 3-5-2 formation is frightening, no matter how good Oguchi Onyewu is. Additionally, the idea that Steve Cherundulo is going to be able to neutralize someone like Pavel Nedved of the Czech Republic should send shivers down anyone's spine. Finally, I like Josh Wolff in limited action, but if he starts, I'm going to be shocked!

Okay, more after today's game!

17 May 2006

Fathers and Sons

Lest one begin to read this entry with the unfortunate misperception that I am about to launch into a great meandering diatribe about the literary greatness of one Ivan Turgenev, I should dispel that idea from the start. Although I could talk at length about Turgenev's relationship to the intelligentsia, or his place among the great Russian authors like Fyodor Dostoevsky (I'm not sold on Tolstoy.), but I would rather not do that now.

While that rant has been dismissed, it is no accident that I have chosen this title as my own. Today my father entered an assisted living facility. He is 63-years-old. When the County Nurse came to evaluate him, she told my mother that she didn't know how we had managed to keep him out of a care facility for this long. I laughed a little when I read that in my mother's email, but it was a laugh that concealed much more than it revealed.

To be honest, I'm not sure how I feel at this moment. The rationality of it is quite clear, and it is the only way to protect my mother, whose constant care for him has put her own health at risk. Yet, as much as my father's mortality has hung like a thunderstorm on the horizon for the last twelve years, I am constantly battered by the fear of life without him. I may not rely on him for intellectual, spiritual, or emotional support, but I feel as though he is so important to who I am that life without him will crush the structures that I have built in order to cope with life with him.

Okay, I can't really continue this post at this time. More later.

A Must Read for Internet Freedom

I wanted to take a moment to remind my readers that the future of the Internet is at risk. As I have noted earlier, the COPE Act (also know as the Barton Bill) will turn over the control to companies who will charge higher rates for activity and will destroy the very foundation of the Internet, network neutrality.

However, Sascha Meinrath has just posted an interesting bit of research into the misinformation that the telecommunications companies are producing about the COPE Act on his blog . If you think these major companies who have billions of dollars in potential profit at stake wouldn't stoop to this level, then you aren't paying attention!