Monday, October 30, 2006

My Space, Your Space, We All Space ...

Wasn't gonna ... kind of got goaded into it ...

It seemed like a long way off a long time ago ...

Tonight I get my ninth yellow stripe at my taekwondo dojang.

Throughout the color belt system and the deputy black belt sequence we are required to earn stripes to qualify for the next belt testing. At some levels it is 8 stripes, then it is 16 stripes, eventually it is 24 stripes ... but once we become deputy black belts it is 12 stripes to earn one yellow stripe and ten yellow stripes equals qualification for black belt testing. (I know this sounds as complicated as the old pounds and pence British monetary system, but it actually is quite simple in practice.)

So tonight, I go through poomse practice and get stripe number nine. Me and Ringo test in just over a month for our National Level Black Belts ... it seems like so long ago we started. He was in 1st grade, I was still married, my hair was long, I worked nights for Safeco, and I couldn't dance to save my life ...

... and now we are almost there ...

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Even in Downtown Bellevue ...

Even in Downtown Bellevue …

I spent about six weeks this summer working in Bellevue, in a downtown office building. Bellevue is generally considered to be the conservative wing of the Puget Sound region, affluent and regarded as a bit snobby to its neighbors. So, it came as little surprise to me that in the lounge area of the building lobby there was a television and some recliners with the television stuck on Fox News.

For several days I would walk past the lounge on my way out to lunch and to and from the bus. It struck me as odd that rarely were there any people using the lounge area while Fox News was on. However, one day the channel was changed to the US Open, and a few days later to CNN Headline News, and suddenly there were people using the lounge area and watching television regular like. Bear in mind, this is a financial center type of building in Bellevue. I found this to be a bit out of place given the general perception of who would be working in Bellevue and what Fox News is supposed to represent.

I just can’t watch that channel. I have tried. It is on something called cable, which I do not have, so it has had to be at other times and in other places than at home. I cringe when I see any story that seems leading, regardless of the source. Fox is just not something I can stomach to watch. I would be embarrassed as a conservative.

But, Fox is “Fair and Balanced” ™, just ask them, they’ll tell you. So, it must be true. But, I just can’t seem to get an image out of my mind. I just picture their anchors all giggling off camera every time they have to say that line.

I don’t care if Sean Hannity is to the right, that is his job in a commentary program. He is a prick that equates anyone who is to the left of him with evil. No, a commentator being opinionated is not the point. It is the news coverage itself that is what makes me cringe about Fox News. They have not only catered to the Bush Administration, they have been its mouthpiece. They don’t even pretend any more to be fair and balanced. They hold their own viewers in such low esteem that don’t even pretend to be anything other than what they are. It is amazing just how much utter contempt those in political power on the right have towards their own voters. The right thinks its own voters are stupid. Fox News is laughing at them every day.

Dear new Sonics ownership group

Dear New Sonics Ownership Group

You are lying.

No one invests millions of dollars in anything without a plan.

No one invests millions of dollars in anything without an end game.

No one invests millions of dollars in a sports franchise in a different town and can reasonably expect people to believe that they do not want to bring that franchise to their town with the new building. It would be negligent of you to not have plans in place about the future of the franchise 1 year, 2 years, 5 years, and ten years from now given the money invested.

If you don't have a plan, you are all morons. I doubt you are all morons.

You may very well accept a new arena in this region if the financing that no one really expects comes through. It would make for a nice profit for you when you sell the team and purchase an expansion or other franchise to relocate. It would be a heck of a windfall for you that your Plan B worked out so well.

But no one here truly believes that an arena in this region is your Plan A.

Stop pretending.

Stop with the obviously rehearsed lines about market and a timeline.

You are lying.

And the more you lie the less likely this region is to help you.

Just say it.

“Build it or we leave.”

It’s easy.

You talk around it. You make very careful statements that basically say it and give you all the plausible deniability you will need later. Say what you mean and maybe that honesty and credibility would buy you some good will and support. All you can really expect now is a team that is going to find itself moving quickly off the radar in a town that has supported it for 40 years. The Sonics will leave town with a barely audible thud, the thud of the door smacking you on your lying butts as you leave.

This is not a U2 song ...

This is not a U2 song …


That would be next year … in 2K7 I turn 40, along with a number of friends … a few hit it first, then me in the middle, and a few others in the Fall … It doesn’t bother me, but it seems to be affecting others …

Here are some other numbers and what they mean / meant to me …

10 – I remember thinking how cool it was to be double digits old …

13 – Everyone made such a big deal about this one I actually remarked that being a teenager was just going to be too much pressure …

16 – I got my driver’s license within days of turning 16 …

18 – Bob took me to register to vote and to register for the draft …

19 – Legal in Idaho at the time and a freshman at Wazzu …

21 – Not that big a deal when I already had Idaho …

25 – Married.

30 – A dad.

35 – Old enough to run for President of the United States of America.

39 – People don’t believe that is your real age, but actually currently is …

40 – Next Summer …
50 – A long ways away, for now …

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Predictable Patterns

Predictable Patterns

Recently, I was subbing a math class. The teacher gave out a packet of work, which in common language is known as busy work. The classes were about as enthusiastic as one would imagine about the obvious spinning of their wheels, but did settle in to work. They must be afraid of not getting it done.

Well, I decided to do the assignment, I was bored enough. In fact, one class was so quiet I got up and did a quick head count to see if some of them had snuck out.

Anyways, I got stumped on a couple items under what was called “Predictable Patterns”. I got through the first 13 fairly quickly, but could not get 14 and 15. The patterns would list numbers and you had to determine what the next numbers in the sequences were. The every odd number one or the every three numbers one were easy. The each number goes up by the square of 1, 2, 3 etc … in order was trickier. I could not get the following two. The teacher did not leave a key and I have not been back to that school yet to ask her. That will happen soon.

1, 4, 9, 1, 6, 2, 5, 3, 6, 4, 9, 6, 4, ___, ___, ___, ___

And 1, 1, 4, 3, 9, 6, 16, 10, 25, 15, ___, ___, ___, ___

Any help would be greatly appreciated. And by help, I do mean the answers.

MLS Single Table (with relegation) ... yeah, right ...

MLS Single Table (With Relegation) Will Never Happen

The USL 1st Division (officially US Soccer’s 2nd Division Pro, which is not nearly as bad as England’s Division 1, now that their 1st Division is actually their 3rd Division, since the 1st Division become the Premier League and the 2nd Division, known as the 1st Division for 12-13 years after the formation of the Premier League, became known as the League Championship) has a single table. It still has a playoff and does not have relegation slash promotion, but doesn’t bother with divisions.
USL clubs like Rochester, Seattle, and Vancouver would likely be all in favor of promotion and relegation, mostly since they are on the outside looking in. However, it is simply inconceivable that MLS club owner-operators would go for the same thing. MLS’ “single entity” structure makes it impossible, but even so, with MLS clubs having a SSS (soccer specific stadium) focus, I simply cannot imagine them going for relegation given the $$$ difference in stadium construction and the effect it would have on franchise values. New owner-operators seem less likely to invest in something with relegation than the original guys that bought into “single entity” in the first place.

Currently, only 4 teams fail to make the playoffs, and that does have a huge impact on play. But, as the league expands the number of teams that don't qualify will grow as well (in theory) and that should take care of itself a bit.

Online fans and some journalists will continue their ongoing battle for single table with promotion and relegation, forgetting, or not caring if they do know it, that the suits are simply not listening. Relegation is not an agenda item and despite annual calls for it, it simply is not something discussed at the ownership level. It won’t happen, not because they keep voting it down, but because they don’t seriously consider it. At all.

Sunday, October 15, 2006


Last night I wrote this short story. I started it around 8, give or take a few minutes and when I got up after reading it a few times it was 9:05 ... decided to leave it as close to how I wrote it as I could.

“Eventually” by Jeffrey Lageson (c) 2006

Eventually, he would read all of the books stacked up on his nightstand.
He was like that.
Stubborn, many would say.
Thorough, he would say.
He had managed to finish off stacks like this before. He would go on binges; reading for hours a day at the expense of other habits or needs. Sometimes reading at all sorts of odd times and in very peculiar places to be caught reading books.
The bus was one thing.
Reading on work breaks was another.
Flipping pages while alone was – on the whole – probably better than sitting in front of the television or computer surfing the net while having dinner.
But, people should not read in bars. It would scare off potential patrons and give the place a bad name. “There’s a fun place to hang out, that guy is reading in here.” Boring is death.
Now, a coffee shop, that would be okay, expected even, even if a bit cliché. Hell, it’s quieter in some coffee shops these days for those reading, writing, or studying than the library gets anymore. People will step outside to take cell calls at some coffee shops. Yet, there was a woman holding a conversation while on the computer in the library the other day on her cell phone. Librarians he grew up with – be they school or public libraries – would simply not have tolerated such nonsense in their libraries.
But, saying something like that smacked of saying an “In My Day” sort of statement where the first three words would be spoken loudly and enunciated slowly by a grumpy old man that simply disapproved of things full-time any more, regardless of whether things truly were better or not in his day.
Part of his problem was that he didn’t like not finishing a book. He might hate it, but he felt like he should finish it. It wasn’t really even a badge of honor or anything, it was simply his preference. So, eventually he would just slog his way through drivel and crap literature, hoping, often without any real glimmer or reason for said hope, to at least encounter a good line or scene or something to validate why the book was in print when other talented people did not get their work published at all. Ever.
He actually felt the same about movies; renting videos to see the first half hour or second half of a movie previously half watched. Often, he would choose not to start watching a television series someone would recommend to him, simply because he knew he would have to go back and see every single previous episode or he would simply explode.
These were the sorts of things that really and truly bothered him.
There were currently thirteen books on his dresser and two sitting on his pillow, all in various states of having been read – or not. Six of the books were gifts. Always nice to get a book as a gift. One he’d borrowed from his father. Six others he’d purchased. Two he had borrowed from communal shelves at work and thought he was likely to return them when he was done. But, since there were no due dates on a communal shelf and no one really expects those sorts of things back or really keeps track of the books on a shelf like that – they brought them in to get rid of them in the first place and didn’t feel like taking the trip to a used book store to sell them – he wasn’t certain he would ever bring them back at all, especially if he liked them.
He was like that, too.
Two of the books would be considered biography. Three of the books dealt with kids and their problems. One was a book about relationships that he was uncertain if it had been loaned to him or given as a gift. He sort of got the impression it could be either. He had gotten a burr up his butt one day and purchased a book on learning Latin, getting about as far into it as one would expect before setting it on the night stand five books down, just above two of the six books that would generally be thought of as non-fiction or historical types of books. Only two of the books were fiction and both of those were novels, not collections of short stories. Of those two novels, one he’d already read at the suggestion of a woman he knew and regarded well. She was right. It was a fantastic book he could recommend to others, always with the caveat of letting people know it starts slow, but is worth it if you stick with it. The other was a bestseller he had purchased, dirt cheap at a library sale, someone having donated it most likely. He figured that one he’d get to last, even though he wanted to read it if for no other reason than to find out what all the fuss was about.
Most of the books he had at least started, and various items were in use as bookmarks. A few books had their receipts in use. One book had his only photo of a woman he dated marking a chapter on relationship mistakes. Obviously that book was not one of the two novels or biographies.
In all, six of the books in the stack were already read, the book on Latin wasn’t really a sit down and read it book anyways, and four of the books he was well into. Reading multiple books at a time was not unusual. There was the western novel in the door of his vehicle with only a couple chapters left. Often, he’d have the work book, the commute book, the bedroom book, and the one he’d tuck in his vehicle to give himself something to do if needing to wait in his car for a period of time or if he was broke down or stranded. He knew he should finish the four he was well into, but hesitated and went and got some ice cream instead, sitting down to watch the rest of the DVD that was due the next day.
He hated leaving things partially read, but the DVD had a due date on it.

Friday, October 13, 2006

OXYMORON - Top Ten Lists

As a part of my Oxymoron research I compiled ridiculously detailed lists of matches I have attended using programs, ticket stubs, and other forms of research to get the facts pretty well right. My accounts and memories of these games may be off, but the dates, scores, and locations are correct.

Yes, I can remember all of this.

Sometimes that bugs me too.

Top Ten WINS (with a rooting interest - defined as more than just liking a team from another city like Lakers or Raiders fans that were born and raised in Seattle)

1) USA 2 Colombia 1 – 6/22/94 – Pasadena CA – Rose Bowl – 1994 World Cup First Round
- First win for US Men in World Cup play since the 1950 World Cup magical win over England, Andres Escobar’s own goal led to his murder days later, largest crowd for a sporting event I have ever been a part of in a stadium

2) USA 1 Costa Rica 0 – 9/7/97 – Portland OR – Civic Stadium – 1998 World Cup CONCACAF Qualifying Final Round
- days after the tragic death of my cousin Brian on I-5, this game served as a form of scream therapy, and when Tab Ramos scored it pretty well cemented the trip to France, and my brother got heat stroke

2) Seattle Sounders 1 Richmond Kickers 1 (5-4 PK) - 10/1/05 - Seattle WA – Qwest Field – USL Division 1 Championship
- had to miss the 96 final due to Pullman commitments, saw them lose in 77, finally saw the boys win the cup in front of me, and then I went dancing since I was being pestered with text messages from the start of the 2nd half through OT

4) FC Seattle Storm 5 San Jose Earthquakes 0 – 7/30/88 - Seattle WA – Memorial Stadium – Western Soccer Alliance Championship
- First time a team I had a genuine rooting interest in won the title in front of me. The rarity of championships was firmly etched in my psyche

5) USA 2 Canada 0 – 10/20/76 – Seattle WA – Kingdome – 1978 World Cup CONCACAF Qualifying
- the night I discovered what the World Cup is, that Canada is a different country, and that sometimes you have to root against your favorite player when he plays for the other team, also FIFA would not sanction a match on carpet these days

6) Seattle Sounders 1 San Jose Earthquakes 0 – 8/5/03 – Seattle WA – Husky Soccer Field – US Open Cup 4th Round
- SRO, a rocking crowd, San Jose tried to light a fire by bringing in Landon Donovan as a sub, but Sounder keeper Rich Cullen played the game of his life

7) Seattle Sounders 1 Cosmos 0 – 7/10/77 – Seattle WA – Kingdome – NASL Regular Season
- The mighty Cosmos of Pele and Beckenbauer were shut out on offense and beaten by one Jockey Scott shot, regular season games are rarely this festive in any sport

8) Tacoma Stars 5 Dallas Sidekicks 4 (OT) – 2/7/86 - Tacoma WA – Tacoma Dome – MISL Regular Season
- first game of the Steve Zungul era in Tacoma, which led to the Stars being a hot ticket for a couple of years (and the owner of one of the great collapses in sports history in 1987), but on this night, it was fun and the Stars won

9) USA 9 Panama 0 – 11/2/02 – Seattle WA – Safeco Field – CONCACAF Gold Cup First Round
- My only USA Women full fan cap, game served a double purpose as a World Cup Qualifier, but Mia Hamm did not play, still nursing a knee injury, but did jog a bit.

10) Seattle Sounders 2 Vancouver Whitecaps 0 – 8/10/77 – Vancouver BC – Empire Stadium – NASL Playoffs
- the first of two Northwest road trips in August of 1977, Chursky got hurt, the Sounders still won

11) FC Seattle Storm 10 Arizona Condors 0 – 6/2/90 – Seattle WA – Memorial Stadium – APSL Regular Season
- I had two choices that night, the M’s or my Storm ticket, I saw 10 goals, but I missed RJ’s no-no the same night

12) Tacoma Stars 11 New York Cosmos 4 – 2/16/85 – Tacoma WA – Tacoma Dome – MISL Regular Season
- what was left of the once mighty Cosmos was an awful indoor team in MISL that folded weeks later and did not finish the season

Hardest Ten Losses to Take

1) Seattle Sounders 1 Cosmos 2 – 8/28/77 – Portland OR – Civic Stadium – NASL Soccer Bowl
- Chursky’s gaff, Pele’s last real game, and a 10 year old boy who got too close to the sideline

2) USA 1 Czechoslovakia 5 – 6/10/90 – Florence IT – Stadio Communale – 1990 World Cup First Round
- the day after the first elections in Czechoslovakia was very emotional for the traveling fans, the American fan next to me seemed genuinely surprised that we weren’t favored, this was ugly early, and I still think they let us score, after the game an old man and I exchanged flags and I still have that flag

3) USA 0 Italy 1 – 6/14/90 – Rome IT – Stadio Olimpico – 1990 World Cup First Round
- Massimo and I were interviewed on live Portugese television, running around with our respective flags, and the book All Played Out has an account of this match I wish I’d have written myself

4) Seattle Sounders 3 San Jose Earthquakes 4 (2OT) – 7/17/02 - Seattle WA – Interbay Stadium – US Open Cup 4th Round
- a man held up a "need tickets" sign outside a sold out Sounders game at a small college field, we heckled Landon Donovan about Britney Spears rumors (he actually looked back at me while waiting to throw in a ball 6 or 7 feet away), and the Sounders lost in double OT

5) Seattle Sounders 1 Los Angeles Galaxy 5 – 8/27/03 – Seattle WA – Qwest Field – US Open Cup Quarterfinals
- over early when the ref hosed the Sounders Defense by awarding a PK in the first couple minutes, a great crowd was immediately taken out of this one and it was over early

6) USA 1 USSR 3 – 2/3/79 – Seattle WA – Kingdome – International Friendly
- we walked around a lot, but it was cool to see the Cold War in person

7) FC Seattle Storm 2 Canada 3 – 4/24/86 – Shoreline WA – Shoreline HS Stadium – International Friendly
- just two months prior to Mexico 86 Canada had to settle for matches like this to prepare, many of their players were still playing indoor, it is not hard to understand why they didn’t score in three matches in Mexico

8) Washington State 0 North Carolina 4 – 8/29/03 – Seattle WA – Husky Soccer Field – Husky Classic
- Even without two players missing for World Cup duty, UNC just rolled over a pretty good Cougar team

9) Seattle Sounders 1 Colorado Rapids 4 – 6/21/98 – Marysville WA – Marysville-Pilchuk HS Stadium – Club Friendly
- Father’s Day, the USA had just lost to Iran in France hours earlier, Paz gave Jacob his tee shirt after the game, and it was the first game I saw with an MLS team in person

10) USA 2 World All-Stars 11 – 12/12/99 – Tacoma WA – Tacoma Dome – Indoor Exhibition
- no Mia Hamm, a pretty good crowd, and an all-star team that went on a tear took the crowd right out of this victory tour indoor exhibition

Best Neutral Matches

1) UCLA 1 American University 0 (8OT) – 12/14/85 – Seattle WA – Kingdome – NCAA Division 1 Championship
- EIGHT OVERTIMES, the NCAA changed to PK’s moments after this ended, the American fans got stranded in Seattle because the flight left, even though the PA announcer made many announcements that they might want to go

2) Vancouver 86ers 5 Toronto Rockets 3 – 10/6/91 – Burnaby BC – Swangard Stadium – CSL Championship
- spent the day with my cousin Brian in BC, then saw a weird game with two early goals, tv timeouts that were booed, and a trophy for the home team

3) Manchester United 4 Glasgow Celtic 0 – 7/22/03 – Seattle WA – Qwest Field – Club Friendly
- Seattle’s finest had bikes, motorcycles, horses, cars, and cops on foot as a show of force in Pioneer Square, mostly this was just a great show by Man U and their stars, just weeks after Beckham was sold to Real Madrid

4) USSR 0 Argentina 2 – 6/13/90 – Naples IT – Stadio San Paulo – 1990 World Cup First Round
- I went to see the goalies, instead, the Soviet keeper was benched and the Argentine broke his leg a dozen minutes in, with a pudgy Maradona playing in his club’s stadium in Italy, it was like a home game for Argentina, but I did get to spend the day with the most beautiful woman at the train station, just ask my friend

5) Los Angeles Galaxy 2 San Jose Earthquakes 3 – 4/7/01 – Pasadena CA – Rose Bowl – MLS Regular Season
- Landon Donovan’s MLS debut, early goals by the home team, and great Mexican food for the gringo that braved the Spanish speaking line

6) DC United 1 Real Madrid 1 – 8/14/06 – Seattle WA – Qwest Field – Club Friendly
- DCU decided to make this a game and did so, the crowd finally got to see Beckham in Seattle, and the girl who walked him out to the field holding his hand looked like she was about to explode at any moment

7) Canada 1 China 0 – 10/2/03 – Portland OR – PGE Park – 2003 World Cup Quarterfinal
- very possibly the greatest game in terms of excitement I have ever seen, if ever a team played out of their minds and over their heads it was these Canadian women on this night, and Tim and I got to heckle real live Communists and Canadians

8) Metrostars 0 Dallas Burn 2 – 6/5/04 – East Rutherford NJ – Giants Stadium – MLS Regular Season
- neither team is still named what they were named on this night, and Dallas’ keeper finally acknowledged our heckling with a broad grin our way as the game ended

9) Minnesota Kicks 0 Toronto Metros 3 – 8/28/76 – Seattle WA – Kingdome – NASL Soccer Bowl
- my first ever cup final, and a doozy of a second half, but neither the hometown team nor the mighty Cosmos made it, that was the next year in Portland

10) Dallas Sidekicks 11 Indiana Twisters 4 – 8/16/96 – Dallas TX – Reunion Arena – CISL Regular Season
- I’ve been to Dallas twice and only saw the Burn in New Jersey, so I saw Tatu break the indoor goal scoring record instead that night

11) Portland Pilots 2 USF 0 – 10/30/04 – Portland OR – Merlo Field – West Coast Conference Regular Season
- finally got to go to Merlo Field, a great college stadium, worth the trip but Tim had to deliver pizza in Longview and missed it, which was sad

12) Sweden 2 Cameroon 2 – 6/19/94 – Pasadena CA – Rose Bowl – 1994 World Cup First Round - I got there 4 hours early because I was afraid of LA traffic and roasted alone in the sun at the Rose Bowl until the game finally started

13) UCLA 3 Portland Pilots 1 – 9/13/91 – Bellevue WA – Interlake HS Stadium – Husky Classic
- the two goalies in this 1991 college clash were Kasey Keller and Brad Friedel, other players included Cobi Jones, who I chatted with and seemed like a good guy, too many bees in the bleachers

*** I could have included the 1986 Gold Cup at the LA Coliseum with Roma, 2005 CONCACAF Gold Cup matches at Qwest, the other half of the 2002 CONCACAF Gold Cup match at Safeco Field, 1984 NCAA Championship in the Kingdome I went to with the Peelers, the 1999 World Cup with Tim in Portland, or the other 2003 World Cup Quarterfinal with Germany showing why they were going to go on to win it … ***

Trivia about these lists

- Landon Donovan played in games on all 3 lists
- There are both men’s and women’s World Cup Qualifiers and Finals matches
- Seattle area stadiums include HS, College, and Pro facilities like Husky Field, Interbay, Kingdome, Qwest Field, Safeco Field, Tacoma Dome, Memorial, Marysville HS, and Shoreline HS
- games were played in the following states; WA, OR, CA, TX, NJ
- games were played in the following countries; USA, Canada, Italy
- Rose Bowl appears three times
- 6 of the 7 Cup Finals I have ever been to are listed
- Paul Caligiuri shows up in college, pro, and internationals
- Pele twice
- San Jose Earthquakes show up in different forms in different leagues
- indoor soccer is represented on all three lists
- Mia Hamm did not play in either USA Women match listed
- MLS teams appear on all three lists
- College games are both men’s and women’s
- OT occurs several times, but PK’s only occur once
- my brother was at matches starting in 1976
- Tim went to matches from 1997 forward
- there are photos or web accounts of many games
- Tony Chursky is a major figure, I finally got to meet him in 94 at a Sounders practice in the Tacoma Dome
- despite numerous women’s matches, no WUSA teams are represented
- club vs. country
- no Oceana teams, but I have seen an Australian men’s pro hoops team once
- I didn’t include many clubs and countries like Ghana, Hong Kong, Japan, Cardiff, Pumas, or Dundee United
- games include Pele, Maradona, Beckenbauer, and other greats
- US HOF players, future HOF members, and HOF snubs like Zungul
- Kingdome matches include college, pro, international, but not the indoor game I went to once
- the USSR appears twice

Ozzfest 06, 05, and little about 04 ...

One of the only 8 people without tattoos

A crazy little thing called Ozzfest

Back in 5th grade I stumbled over a little record called Never Say Die. It was from a crazy little band called Black Sabbath. By this time Sabbath had peaked, were on the verge of tossing out their charismatic but utterly unreliable lead singer, and their genre of music was in decline. Never being one to care about such silly things as what is in fashion in music, even back in the 5th grade, I was totally in to the record. Jump forward a year or two later and the singer in question was releasing his first solo record. The local rock station made mention of the record release and played a song that caught my attention. So, I went to the mall with the folks and picked up a copy. The store clerk looked at me with the you cannot be serious sort of look hipster doofus record store guys give when they do not approve of someone’s musical choices.

Now, just imagine how utterly psycho and out of control a guy had to be to be kicked out of a British Heavy Metal band in the 1970s. Given how utterly psycho and out of control they all were, just imagine what the threshold of bad behavior had to be for those guys to have had enough. It’s kind of funny to see the band Black Sabbath back together, touring on the lucrative Ozzfest stage, and knowing it is because of Ozzy’s solo success that those guys are raking in the dough for music they recorded decades earlier. The guy they tossed out and started over from scratch is now a franchise unto himself.

I’ve had the great good fortune of seeing in concert a who’s who of the rock genre over the years. My first real concert was The Rolling Stones in the Kingdome with the Centerfold era J.G.B and Greg Kihn opening. An experience like that sort of resonates with a 14 year old and has permutations that ripple through one’s life decades later. OK, that was silly sounding, but the point is valid. I mean, I have actually read all of Greg Kihn’s published novels as an adult. I have spent a good deal of time working on my son’s ipod in order to give him a good sample of the music his dad likes. It has been fun to do. Ringo recently came up to me and asked, “Dad, can we go to The Rolling Stones.” He’s 9. I wanted to just hug him and say, “That’s my boy!” Which, incidentally, I did. Turns out playing Exile On Main Street as lullaby music when he was an infant really worked. It almost brought a tear to my eye, but since my eyes don’t water a lot that is an ongoing problem for me and the reason I generally can’t wear contacts and gave up on them many years ago.

The number of top acts that I have not seen is pretty small (U2, police, who, etc …), and mostly due to the fact that I simply wasn’t a fan. Many of them have made comebacks over the years, but I refuse to get all nostalgic about bands and performers and songs I couldn’t stand in the first place. Well, I am not one to begrudge an oldie or a one hit wonder from making a living off of past glories. Who am I to argue, when I have never had a hit I could milk into a concert tour 17 years later? If the public is willing to see Journey tour with someone else singing, or Frankie Goes to Hollywood tour with the lead singer and a band in his employ, then bully for them. Even Guns n’ Roses is pretty much just Axl Rose and the hired guns. Axl is smart enough to know that using the name sells tickets, even if it is basically a solo project now with him singing old hits in front of band in his employ. . I have managed to see a few of the acts on nostalgia tours, but alas I still have not plunked down my hard earned money to see Journey.

And now I must deal with the fact that much of my era of coming of age is generally considered oldies, classic, or retro. Fair enough. The song 1985 nails the phenomenon pretty accurately. When did Motley Crue become classic rock? When did Ozzy become an actor? Please make this stop.

Speaking of oldies touring on old music with bands under their employ, I went to Ozzfest again this past summer of 06. I know. An entire day of thrashing, head banging, ear ringing heavy metal that I am supposedly too old for. It’s not the first time either. I’ve sort of made it a bit of a habit in recent years to attend this crazy little thing they call Ozzfest. There have been some acts I would never have paid to see and ended up standing in line to do something else when they performed. I’ve had the opportunity to find up and coming acts I would not have heard otherwise (Lacuna Coil). I’ve had the opportunity to see newer name acts (Disturbed). I’ve had the opportunity to see again bands I really like (Iron Maiden). I’ve had the opportunity to see long touring bands I’ve just plain missed seeing (Slayer). And of course, I have had the opportunity to see bands making the big comeback attempt (Judas Priest).

In 05 I got to witness Ozzy completely losing it and returning to his circa 1979 behavior. His voice gave out. He was about 3-4 songs into the set. All of a sudden, he looks pissed, grabs the mike, throws it down (boom), and storms off the stage. Uh oh. The band doesn’t flinch. Tony goes into a long guitar solo. Geezer makes the occasional glance off stage to see if he is coming back. The crowd however, getting nervous, people starting to mumble. My bro and I exchanged, “should we just go now, he might not be coming back looks” rather briefly. Finally Ozzy comes back on stage, big nervous grin on his face. We all know Sharon has just read him the riot act and sent him back onstage. He spends a number of the songs encouraging the crowd to sing the words and gets through the set, clearly in pain.

Oh, and Ozzy uses a teleprompter. It’s true. Songs he wrote and has been singing for 30-40 years and there he is with this huge teleprompter in front of him amongst the monitors. Better living through chemistry indeed.

There is a shocking amount of skin on display at an Ozzfest. Some of the skin is worth following around and ogling (like the KISW Rock Girls), but much of it needs to be covered for both aesthetic and health reasons. The number of people calling in sick due to sunburn must be nearly as high as the number calling in hung over. In fact, they should rename it Ozzygras for all the beads being handed out to flashing women.

Many of those in attendance are showing off the ink they have on various body parts. The demographic is clearly tilted toward the portion of the population that has tattoos over the portion of the population that does not. In fact, I think I was one of the 8 adults not working security that did not have a single tattoo on display. I do not have any tattoos; either visible or hidden, merely scars. I have considered getting tattoos to represent my children, but I seem to recall making a promise to my parents not to get a tattoo while they are still alive. So, being a man of my word I still do not have that rose tattoo. The Rock Girls one year were kind enough to draw on my shoulders and give me temporary tattoos. It looked ridiculous, but, well, they thought it was a good idea and who was I to argue with the lovely Jackie or the lovely Shawna? Sometimes, one just has to get in touch with one’s inner dirty old man. Even my brother with his very low silliness tolerance threshold understood why I allowed that to happen and acknowledged by reasoning with a simple nod when I explained it to him.

The burnouts there make me feel younger, and yet older at the same time. I can no longer reasonably consider myself to be a blonde. My hair is no longer down to my shoulder blades. Well, I get looks like, and the occasional comment like, “ladies and gentlemen, here we have an undercover police officer.” No joke. One guy at a booth where you can win a CD if you can kick a soccer ball and hit him in the head as he sits in a chair actually said that to me. Wrong guy. I sent a warning shot right past his left ear that led him to just give me the CD rather than to let me take my next kick.

There are a shocking number of people that do not even acknowledge the second stage. They get there plenty early. Someone big is usually headlining it like Rob Zombie or Slipknot, yet many people just go camp on the lawn up above the amphitheatre and ignore a whole section of what they have paid for. If it was just a matter of having to work so that you could only get there at a certain hour that would be one thing. I mean, seeing the final three Main Stage acts in 04 meant it was a triple bill of Slayer, Judas Priest, and Black Sabbath, all with their true lineups. A lineup like that would be worth the trip and ticket price alone.

Ozzfest allows people to meet bands; it is run as a very tight ship. There is a schedule that is handed out and it is pretty well adhered to. The second stage is minimalist in approach, but works very well. It is interesting to see which bands hang out to watch each other. The second stage also is where the autograph booths are. Other than some of the Main Stage acts, Ozzfest bands all sign and pose for photos. CD’s are sold for instant purchase if one likes the band that just played. I like it. It is amazing to me some old Country act like Willie Nelson doesn’t duplicate the tour completely and do the same thing. However, Williefest would need a different name.

People talk about a celebrity safe list, a list of celebrity hotties that would not count as cheating if one was fortunate enough to live the fantasy. Shows like Friends had episodes about this subject. I even had to explain the whole concept to my mother when my dad would suddenly watch Dancing with the Stars when Sarah Evans would be on. Well my list includes Christina Scabbia. She is a beautiful Italian woman with raven black hair, amazing eyes, and the ability to front a metal band at Ozzfest without coming across as an absolute bitch. I have kissed her hand twice at Ozzfest. The first time led to her speaking to me through the media. In a Stuff Magazine article in 2004, Scabbia mentioned how men treat her well on tour and will kiss her hand. She remembers me.

When I finally got around to switching to CDs I had to re-purchase a few records I had already purchased in previous or flimsier formats. I of course had to purchase Never Say Die. Oddly enough, when I found an old turntable I cleared space on top of the entertainment center and have started playing my old records again. You know what? Even though they do sound better, as Nicholas Cage so boldly proclaimed in The Rock, it is a serious pain to have to get up and change the record every 4 songs. The real dilemma for the CD era, which is a lot different in the “file sharing era” was simple. Do you buy the albums you really liked, or just go for the greatest hits (or god forbid boxed set) collections? Both arguments can be supported in reasonable ways.

People can laugh all they want, to me it is a badge of honor that I can go to Ozzfest every year any more.

And, I finally got to see Black Sabbath. Bands with many hits can’t play every song that someone wants. I would love to hear a personal favorite off of a particular album by many acts, but the realities of show length always seem to get in the way. The omission of personal favorites will always happen. But, neither time have they played even a single song from Never Say Die.


I was drunk, the night my mama got out of prison ...

I wrote some country songs

It was sort of bad enough that I sang “Friends in Low Places” just to have it immortalized on the internet on Paul’s Basement (thanks Brenda). First, I learned to dance after I got divorced. Worse yet, now I am writing a country song, even though I still don’t listen to country music on my own, except for Cash, Earle, and a few others that are more honky tonk than the crap Nashville churns out, which is just bubble gum pop country. Yes, I decided to play around with the idea of writing a country song … not in the “I was drunk, the night my momma got out of prison” sense, but more like … well, maybe. There are three real categories of “Country Song”; the silly song, the sad song, and the bitter song. I tried all three with mixed levels of success.


1) Silly song

“You’ll Make a Friend for Life if you Just Milk That Bull” (Lyrics not reprinted here)

2) Sad song

“It doesn’t have to be this hard”

I’m getting sick of all these near misses
First dates
Awkward kisses
There it goes
Broken heart(s) again

It doesn’t have to be this hard
It shouldn’t have to be this hard
It wouldn’t have to be this hard
Why does it have to be this hard?
No one knows

I really like the new woman I’m with
I enjoy her company
It probably isn’t fair to her
As she thinks the world of me
But that’s just the way it is, in this cruel, cruel world
It should have to be this hard
But that’s just the way it is
It shouldn’t have to be this hard
It really doesn’t need to be

That little red headed girl took my heart, just like Charlie Brown
There’s nothing I can do about it
But it still just gets me down

Song structure
Verse/chorus Fade

3) Bitter song

I have yet to face a greater challenge as a writer than trying to describe coming home and finding my home emptied out and knowing my kids will forever live under a different roof than I do. The following excerpt from a journal entry led to the bitter country song idea ... “She didn’t even bother to F*(#ing vacuum.” (Not bitter any more, it was weird to read those old journals ...

Possible song titles were the following … “(She) didn’t even bother to vacuum” - “(She) left the place a mess” - “(She) couldn’t wait to get away …” I decided to only go with one of them.

“She didn’t even bother to vacuum”

She didn’t even vacuum
She didn’t even sweep the floor
She took everything away (no kids running through the door)
The kids will live with them now, it’s not so far away

Maybe It’ll be better
I’ll have some piece of mind
But them empty bunk in the room next door
Always make me cry

(That’s as far as I got)

Friday, October 06, 2006

Foolproof College Football Playoff Plan

The View From Out in Left Field - Jefferson's Foolproof NCAA 1-A College Football National Championship Plan

There are several things to keep in mind when looking at any national championship plan that I normally don't hear when the subject comes up this time of year. First of all, if the NCAA ever gets around to doing a 1-A football playoff it will be done the "NCAA way", which means we need to look at other NCAA tournaments for clues on how it will come about. The NCAA likes conference champions. The NCAA likes to reward its business partners and sponsors. The NCAA likes to keep seasons as reasonably concise as possible. The NCAA likes to reward the small schools as much as it likes to reward the powerhouses. The NCAA like easily bracketed increments. The NCAA is not going to do anything that diminishes the overall pervasiveness of college football, even for a single lucrative game. College football has thrived with the current system because teams play a regional/conference schedule against traditional rivals. A conference title is a tangible thing that is always won on the field. No national title in 1-A football has ever been won on any field in any game. It has always come down to voters and promoters, and people buying tickets, which is a problem in boxing as well.

THE PLAN is simple:

32 Teams - all conference champions plus enough at large bids to compensate strong conferences for going along - regular season must end on weekend prior to Thanksgiving - 16 First Round games at neutral sites Saturday after Thanksgiving - 8 Second round games the following weekend - 4 quarterfinals the following weekend - bye weeks for finals and holidays and hype - final four weekend just after holiday - national title game just after New Year's

Positives and Negative to THE PLAN:

- Neutral Sites reward bowl cities and could work with existing bowl committees for transition - Teams in 1-A football really don't play national schedules, conferences and weak non-conference game make up a larger chunk of their schedule than any other sport - 32 is only a slight decrease in the number of teams qualifying for post-season play compared to current bowls - season ending prior to Thanksgiving enables similar playoff timetable as other football divisions and only affects a few late season games - large number of at-large rewards strong non-conference schedules and big conferences - Rotating title site has many benefits - enough at large bids keep the carrot out for struggling teams, too few would lesson the realistic chances of ever making it and many schools would drop football, which is not good for college life and college culture in America - Shrinks traditional bowl glut on New Year's, but something has to give

It makes sense and would work. It could be implemented quickly. Hence, it will never happen.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

I Can No Longer Reasonably Consider Myself to be a Blonde

I Can No Longer Reasonably Consider Myself to be a Blonde

When I was a young boy … my hair was basically white. Not blonde, but WHITE. As I grew older it darkened a bit, but basically if I grew it out at all (and I did grow it out most of the time) it was very blonde. Even two years ago when I had my hair shoulder length it was pretty blonde. It has turned very, very grey.

I would fight to keep it long. When I went off to college I didn’t cut for years. And now that Ringo wants to grow his out a bit ...

Styles, they do come around full circle don’t they?

It is time to update the drivers license.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

I Heart NY

I Heart NY

A couple years ago I finally got to New York. By finally, I mean finally in the sense that I had a shot a year or so earlier to go all expenses paid for 6-8 weeks, but just fell short of making the cut to get to go. By Just fell short I mean I made it through to a final round of NBC interviews to be on the first season of The Apprentice, which had included a screen test and interview where I stumped the NBC screener with facts about Trump she didn’t know (New Jersey Generals trivia) …

So, I finally went there in June of 04. I got to hang out with a couple of old buddies, see a Yankee game with the Bleacher Creatures, experience a red carpet (Nicole Kidman waived to me), see a Broadway play starring an Oscar winner, realize just how awesome comprehensive mass transit is, checked to see if Yoko was around, and I got glimpsed on the Today show. I also got a chance to view and walk around the World Trade Center site.

It was clear who the locals were, they don’t look at it. They walk past it or come up the stairs from the train with complete blinders on. How could they look at it? The daily reminder that hole must bring would be overwhelming to face up to every morning at 6:57 AM. But, look us non-New Yorkers did. I walked around it. I took pictures of it. I needed to get a personal feeling to go with the images I had witnessed. I needed to hear my friend tell his story of that day. And then, I avoided it completely and walked around it. I felt dirty. I felt like a voyeur. I find it distasteful enough to watch injury accidents, those people deserve their privacy. I could not pose for a photo with Ground Zero in the background like I did at Lady Liberty or atop the Empire State Building.

Yes, I bought the t-shirt.

It's Maiden Time!

It’s Maiden Time!

There are those who say that there are certain things a man should not do past 30. Well, one of those things is worry about lists that others make. Do those things if you like them and the world can #*(% off if they don’t like it. For instance, getting excited an old band you like has a new record out and going to go buy it on the day it comes out is considered a bit undignified to many …

Well … I did that recently.

Much like when records like Powerslave, Somewhere in Time, and Brave New World came out I fond myself going to a record store on the date of release of the newest offering from Iron Maiden. How many more records will these guys really release that I will have the opportunity to do this? So, I walked to the mall near where I was working this summer and … discovered Bellevue Square does not have a record store any more. Tower Records in Bellevue is long gone and so is the other one down the street. I could not for the life of me find a record store in downtown Bellevue at lunch so I had to wait until the evening to swing by a store in Lynnwood to purchase said record. (They are CDs now, but I still call them records, always will …)

Who would have thought that I would become nostalgic about old downtown Bellevue and Bellevue Square?

What kind of a mall doesn’t have a single record store any more?

I mean, this is Maiden. A friend of mine set her cell phone to play The Trooper so she would know it was me calling. I saw them once where Guns n’ Roses were opening for them. I wrote a review as a stringer in 2000 for their website. Last year on Ozzfest they were clearly the highlight of the day for many, many people …

… and I couldn’t find a record store in Bellevue to buy it. Good Lord, what has this world come to?

Oxymoron (part one) - an introduction

Oxymoron (part one) - an introduction

In the novel Fever Pitch Nick Hornby describes that being a soccer fan (or as he would put it football supporter) meant that he was a moron for a good portion of the time. Well, I understood that sentiment because I was in an even more moronic of a situation as an American. So, not only was I a moron, but growing up as an American soccer fan it made me more than just a moron, but an oxymoron.

I grew up as one of the Pele Generation. In the recent documentary Once in a Lifetime the phenomenon is clearly spelled out. That was me. I grew up cheering for and mourning the NASL, dealt with years of nothing but indoor soccer, struggled to find any score for my teams, and rarely got to see games on television. During these years I managed to witness the slow rebirth of Pele’s Beautiful Game in this country to where we now have a men’s national team that is expected to go to the World Cup every four years, a solid pro league with teams building really good soccer stadiums, bars that are truly soccer bars, and games and scores easy to watch or find. Times have changed.

But, much like Hornby wrote about growing up as an Arsenal supporter during a period where they didn’t have players like Henry, I thought it would be a good exercise to write a memoir of growing up an American soccer fan. So, I went through old programs, media guides, ticket stubs, and photos and got to work. I have compiled depressingly detailed lists of games and soccer events in my life (why can I remember this sort of thing?). I am going to use this blog to begin the dissemination of some of the material.

Under the heading of Oxymoron, the working title, I will randomly post some of these lists, recount some of these experiences, post some of these photos, and generally disclose just how much of an oxymoron I really am. An example of this sort of writing was evident in the last paragraph of my blog entry responding to the Sports Guy’s Hall of Fame column. Of course, the MFLS, 2010, Seattle Sounders Tryout Article, and Mighty Mighty Panthers entries would also fit the bill ....

Monday, October 02, 2006


"Life is just a fantasy, can’t you live this fantasy life … "

Wanna bore your friends? Talk about your fantasy sports team. Complain about how the sloppy late game points your team gave up hurt your fantasy team because you have one team’s defense. Complain about the quarterback not throwing to your guy, but to the back up tight end. Take stats so completely out of context that who wins and who loses has become completely secondary to how many touchdowns a particular wide receiver scored.

So, that being said, let me tell you about my fantasy MLS team.

Last season I signed up but really didn’t pay much attention. This year, why did Brian Ching have to go sit on the bench in Germany when he could have continued his early season tear and have kept me atop the league instead of slowly slipping to 7th … see my point … ?

(As if anyone would care but me, I am going to win the Prediction League portion of my division this year … )