Wrestling News, Opinions, Etc. 06.03.03



I really can’t say anything that would even remotely approach justice about Classy Freddie Blassie, especially in this column.  As some people have remarked, I tend to focus on the negative, and there’s nothing negative you can say about the Classy One.  Great wrestler and SEer for his time, phenomenal manager for any time.  All I’m going to say is this:

Thank God he got his book out.

Thank God he got one final run before the cameras, painful to look at or not.

Thank God a good portion of his antics have been preserved so we can see him at his greatest on the playback medium of our choice.

Thank God that he thrived in an area that we enjoy talking about, because we’re all a little better for it.

Officially on behalf of 411, our condolences go out to his family, his friends, his co-workers, and his fans, the last of which numbers every person reading this and every person who writes for this site.

And I hate to transition from that into this, but I was goddamn well not going to let the Classy One not lead off this column…


I allowed the People’s Abortion on Jericho.  I allowed the World’s Shittiest Uranage on Christian.  I decided to wait to see what developed with Booker.  I waited for the cheap shot, and waited, and waited.  And then came the commercial, and I came in here to type this.


(and I would have used a blink tag if I was allowed)

No more “The Rock”.  No more “Mister Johnson”.  No more anything.  Probation’s been violated.  I always said to everyone that I reserved the right to revert back if the situation warranted it.  I am exercising that right.

I am not the only one saying this.  JaGre2001 joins in my sentiments:

I’m a fan of Rock (or Flex) as they come, but what his damn purpose on raw tonight? Was his purpose to come back and erase what had transpired the last months as a heel? Or was it to make Goldberg like a dope as he’s done so far on in Goldie’s WWE tenure? He already took out the man Goldberg is about face  in 3 minutes. It’s time for people to come to the reality that Rock is much as an egomaniac as Triple H is.

Thank you.


The only reason the Goblin could pass the Lie Detector test is clearly because he’s deeply and sincerely Sociopathic. That’s the only personality type that could possibly avoid one. – Slick Rick

In Memoriam, Sort Of:  3DO, Trip Hawkins’ money-sink attempt to prove that EA wasn’t a fluke.  Every computer gamer has had this cesspool on death watch for a long time, and it was nice to see it finally come through in a blaze of Chapter 11 last week.  Maybe someone can zombie the Might and Magic franchises (RPG and TBS only) from this and make them stand for quality in the genre again.

And it’s another beautiful Tuesday here at 411.  The birds are singing, the sun is shining, and I’m going to ignore the fact that this paragraph’s part of the prep work which is done days before.  We’ve got a lot to go forward with right now, so let’s jet…


Williams gets a wonderful brown-tonguing later on from me, but he gets the customary one up here.  And if you’re thinking of opening an American branch office, Ross, mail me.  I’d love to get involved.

That’s it?  Damn.


Dubbaya was out of town last week and this, doing things like visiting Auschwitz and Birkenau so that he and Ashcroft can get some pointers, and then going to Russia and France to do the “I was right and you were wrong” Dance Of Joy.  So I have to go after him by proxy, and thank the heavens that one of the Junta’s worst actions since the Patriot Act took place.

You know, I was going to go off on a long rant about the Federal Communications Commission declaring Open Season on smaller media companies yesterday, but it’s just not worth it.  Michael Powell, Son Of SecState, and his marauding crew of free-marketers just did the same thing to every other medium that the Clintonistas allowed to happen to radio five years ago.  No restrictions on cross-ownership, an increase on the limits in concentrated ownership to near-majority in any market…all in the country with the most advanced communications infrastructure, and done on a party-line vote.  Recipe for trouble indeed.

It’s just so mind-numbing that it’s hard to get a handle on.  It’s also so low-key that most people won’t even know or care.  That’s because the media seems to be a little embarassed to report that they themselves have been homogenized and neutered from now until the US Government allows the DoJ to have more firepower than most NATO countries.

Less ownership means less diversity of opinion.  Decreasing diversity of opinion is always a goal of a totalitarian state.  Except that this isn’t a political state we’re talking about.  It’s a state of mind.  Let me go Borg on you (and, Josh, you were a lot more serious in the fake opening quote last week than you realize).  Imagine that you’re used to hearing millions of voices in your head, all with unique opinions and viewpoints.  Now imagine that most of the voices have been silenced, and the only ones you could hear were Rupert Murdoch, Dick Parsons, Sumner Redstone, Michael Eisner, the Mays family, etc.  And those voices were loud, loud enough to drown out anything else.  A totalitarian state of mind, thinking channeled (ClearChanneled?) in only a few limited directions.  Dubbaya isn’t doing it (even I have to cut him a break when he’s not to blame), but he and his people are facilitating it.

It isn’t just the US either.  Witness the name of Murdoch in that litany above.  Canadians have their own oligopolist in CanWest Global.  Doesn’t Silvio Berlusconi try to run a media conglom when he isn’t try to run Italy?  Media is global, period.  Information and entertainment cannot be isolated, not in 2003.  And considering who owns the biggest ISPs in the world, the Internet isn’t a safe haven either.

“Big deal,” you say, “what about the state-owned media outlets all around the world?”  Different beast.  People know about that and adjust their bullshit detectors accordingly.  With private industry, it’s a lot more subtle and a lot more difficult to do that.

And what about the deals that can now be cut?  This scenario can now happen:  Dick Parsons wakes up.  It’s a gloomy day as he opens the business section of the New York Times, only to see another article bemoaning AOL Time-Warner’s losses.  Parsons is at his rope’s end, since no one is dumb enough to want to buy the AOL part of the biz.  Suddenly, his private line rings, the one few people know the number to.  It’s Rupert Murdoch.  Richard, he says, I may have a way out for you.  Sell me CNN and you’ll have enough cash to shut the Street up.  Don’t have to worry about the FCC anymore, you know.  The only people who will complain will be some cranks…and a short time later, Crossfire comes on, and it’s Robert Novak on the Right and Bill O’Reilly on the Left.

(I will allow time for a pause here so that John King and Ralph Snart can remove the trousers they had on, and can only hope the stains don’t set by the time they get them laundered.  As Monica can tell you, they’re a bitch to get out.)

(Ironically, the O’Reilly reference was written before The Only Man More Liberal Than I Am, Zach Singer, tabbed me to this MP3 of Al Franken and an audience of booksellers punk out O’Reilly, and Molly Ivins comes along for the ride.  Wonderful.  WARNING:  this is a 56M MP3, one-hour long, so if you’re not on broadband…)

This entire situation is Not A Good Thing.  How much of a Non-Good Thing is it?  Not only am I scared about it, so are Ted Turner and Barry Diller, the guys who set the standard for amoral behavior in media management.  Anything that can scare those two raptors must be one horrifying T-Rex.

Memo to BFM:  This situation isn’t exactly like turning watching your local news into the equivalent of watching WWE, TNA, and an indy, but it’s good enough for an servicable analogy.


You know, I really don’t care about wrestling at this moment.  It’s US Open week.  Not only that, but it’s here in town at Olympia Fields.  I’m at Ground Zero of the Golf World, and it’s impossible to pay attention to anything else happening sports-wise.  I’m just wondering this:  can anyone stop Kenny Perry?  Well, Tigger would have if he hadn’t blown up on Saturday at the Memorial, but even so, that’s a helluva bit of momentum to have coming into a major.  This is gonna be exciting, seeing that old beauty Olympia Fields host the best under the hardest.  Fuck wrestling with a rusty chainsaw.

Venus is out at Roland Garros…that and Jen-Jen’s and Davenport’s departures might just kill American interest for the women’s side.  It’s not enough for Serena to be in the finals anymore; she has to be playing an American, preferably her sister.  Especially in France.  As for the men’s side, you can consider that DOA every single year.

I wish David Stern would tell us something:  when Larry Brown decides to move jobs, does he ask for volunteers for someone to lay down like a bitch, or is there some sort of drawing?  Either way, Buh Bye, Rick Carlisle.

Oh, yeah, AC Milan beat Juvenus for the Champions’ League crown.  In case you cared.  And since there was another scoreless penalties situation, very few people probably did by the sixty-minute mark.  Old Trafford has definitely seen better games.

Don’t believe me on that?  Certainly you can trust a guy named Hamid from Iran, as quoted on cnnsi.com:

Juventus and AC Milan should be demoted out of the Top 10 as punishment for having destroyed ‘The Beautiful Game’. I hope next year’s Italian teams fail to reach the final stages, as in recent years, because 200 million viewers deserve much better than a repeat of this snoringly, boringly, soul destroying final.

And speaking of snoringly boring and soul-destroying…


Match Results:

Trish Stratus, Ivory, and Jackie over Jazz, Victoria, and Molly Holly (Pinfall, Ivory pins Jazz, facebuster):  Look, I already didn’t care about this show before this match started (see below).  This Waste Of Time Festival didn’t help matters any (no angle development, nothing to be read from the winner…Elimination Chamber at Bad Blood?  Could save the women’s division.).  And then there’s Ross’ constant exclamations of who’s held the women’s title.  Here’s a hint, Ross:  EVERY SINGLE FUCKING ONE OF THOSE SIX WOMEN HAVE, MOST OF THEM MULTIPLE TIMES!  Oh, dear God, call Schiavone before it’s too late.

I’ll let Slick Rick, whose enthusiasm wasn’t drained through every orifice by You-Know-Who showing up, comment instead:

A six-chick match that was nearly flawless, with minimal gratuitous cheesecake moves… Are we in the Bizarro Universe? (I’ll give Jackie a pass on the 1-foot away punches. The director clearly missed a camera switch there….)

Big Sump Pump over Stevie Richards (Pinfall, Who cares?):  Yeah, like I paid any attention to this one.  I’ll have some choice comments regarding the Bad Blood match during the Round Table.

Rene Dupree over Kane (Pinfall, rollup):  La Res has so much damn potential.  Start having us watch their matches instead of using them as setups for things like Austin giving Kane some Tough Love.  Really, we do want to watch La Res wrestle.  Maybe you’ll have to move them to Smackdown for that to happen.  Eddie/Tajiri-La Res, anyone?

Of course, the Ravin’ Cajun decided to concentrate on the non-Francophones involved:

What does it say when the most entertaining and insightful moment in the entire episode of RAW tonight is provided by a person in a nonwrestling capacity? Damned if Austin’s confrontation of Kane wasn’t brilliantly executed. Austin’s attempt to bring the monster out combined with Kane’s apparent self-hatred at what he’s become was a great moment- one of few the past few weeks. And the best part was it was in character with the two as they are now and didn’t need anyone from outside that ring to “enhance” the moment.

Not a bad touch, admittedly, but it takes two good, strong characters and two good performers to pull it off.  That’s why it’s so rare to see it in WWE these days.  Witness Flair and Michaels earlier for another exception to the rule.

BookDust over Chris Crass (Pinfall, Booker pins Christian, scissors kick):  Is there a nostalgia factor involved if you’re only going back six or seven months?  Two big kudos:  one to Li’l Naitch for selling that spear like a trouper (Slick Rick says that if he was Li’l Naitch, he’d have never done it given Goldie’s inherent clumsiness), and one to Ross for his “if you weeeeelll” slip-in while Goldust was in the ring.

Ric Flair, Randy Orton, and Trip over Shawn Michaels, Kevin Nash, and Novocaine Helms (Pinfall, Orton pins Helms, Trip Pedigree):  At least they’re being consistent:  end an incredibly boring show with an incredibly boring match.  Bleh.

Angle Developments:

Eight Seconds:  That’s how long it takes to register a successful run in bull-riding, if I’m not mistaken.  That’s also how long it took for my projectile vomiting reflex to kick in at the beginning of Raw.  You can make the bull connection at your leisure as to the reason why.  I’d classify this as “premonition” material.

Ignorance Is Usually Bliss:  Anytime Trip comes out for a promo, even one as promising as one that begins with people beating the shit out of Novocaine Helms, is a good time to start working on other stuff in this column, which I did.  However, I did catch some of the Michaels/Flair routine, and I’ve got to admit this:  Michaels just turned on the switch to activate his A Game again.  His promo is just another reason that all of us are wishing that they’d be in the Cell and Nash and Trip would be…well, anywhere other than Houston.

1001 Uses For Pistachio Ice Cream:  I normally don’t comment about WWE vehicular mayhem, but I really do think that the shade that Jericho used might actually make a nice accent color to the black ‘Cuda.  It’d sure lighten up Goldie’s image a bit.

Lowlight Reel:  I am not going to comment about the mid-hour promo segment except to say one thing:  Christian, you are definitely not an autumn.  Stay away from the earth tones for your outfits.

Ignorance Usually Is Bliss, But Sometimes It’s Just Fucking Moronic:  Let’s see.  The refs go on strike per HitC.  Austin says he has an idea and mentions the one SOB crazy enough to ref it.  The crowd starts chanting “Foley!  Foley!”, and everyone watching at home is joining them in doing so.  Ross and Lawler say that they have no idea who Austin might be talking about.

You know, WWE, you could at least try.  This isn’t a mark/smark/smart issue.  This is about the fact that the “writers” gave Austin a speech that would make anyone think “Foley” would be the answer to the conundrum without exercising more than three brain cells.  Are you afraid to mention the name for fear of blowing the surprise?  Aren’t you the same people who completely blew the Goldberg surprise?  Screw it.  Say Mick’s name, have everyone speculate, then bring him out or not bring him out.  At least get people to talk.

I’d go for the twist here and not get Foley; you’re in Texas, dammit, so get Terry Funk.  Same effect with only slightly less crowd reaction.


Believe it or not, I usually start Tuesday Mailbag six days early…it’s just a lot easier trying to choose mail from the Wednesday column when it comes in, then answer it while the stuff I wrote about is still fresh in my mind.  So while it’s June your time, it’s still May in my world as I type this.  Let’s rock.

Memo to Regular Sean Fri (and I’ll get to your soccer comments in that section):  The whole insurance situation was why I didn’t take the last step a long time ago, get my guild memberships, and stick to performing.  I like my creature comforts too much.

Lots of soccer talk, of course.  The only way I can start this out is to give a short memo to the guy who started all of this in the first place:  David May…

The fact that there was “no” US reaction to Japan/Korea 2002 is a mistake.  There was a reaction here, and a very good one.  The problem was this:  whenever a worldwide sports event takes place in Asia, that’s an invitation for Americans to set phasers on “ignore” (witness Nagano 1998 and Sydney 2000).  Part of the American Sports TV Viewing Experience is to see the event live.  Live events from Asia take place in the middle of the night in the US.  Far easier to sleep through it and either catch it on tape when you wake up/get home from work/whatever, or watch the highlights on the 7AM SportsCenter.  That being said, a lot of people who never thought they’d wake up early for a soccer game did, especially after the Portugal result.  Live events in Europe take place in the afternoon here in the States, so you’ll see a much better reaction to Athens next year and Germany 2006.

And to start the real formal proceedings, I decide to descend into the biggest tar-pit outside of religion known to man:  declaring my team to a British soccer fan, specifically a Liverpool supporter.  Okay, Nick Howells, don’t say I never sacrificed anything…

…I don’t really have a team, other than the Fire, of course.  The local Frankfurt clubs all sucked big wind when I was over there, so there was no reason to become a supporter.  I’ve never lived in England, so I can’t make a fair judgment about who I’d be a supporter of without trying to properly factor in all of the variables that go into who you support (socioeconomic, temperament, etc.)…

Okay, that sounds weaselly, even for me.  Let’s just say that, if all factors mentioned above are taken into consideration and that I was a subject of HRH Brenda, that you could probably find me in the stands at…


Let’s kick out the jams with Daniel Alter, a Brit who wants to become a semi-regular:

Football/soccer: Some of your points as to why soccer is still not a major spectator sport in the US are relevant, especially regarding the ’94 final.  That game could put anyone off of the sport for life. However, the main reasons is TV commercials. Football/soccer is a game that is played continuously for 2 periods of 45 minutes (albeit with a few breaks when the referee decides to send someone off or a player is stretchered off the pitch). What US TV station in their right mind would show a live game without any commercial breaks for a whole 45 minutes. It wouldn’t be
financially viable. It was rumoured that TV stations would start using some kind of split-screen in order to show commercials during the game but, given that this hasn’t happened, the idea was obviously nixed. So, since Americans are only interested in what’s shown on TV (obligatory Limey elitist remark) and TV stations will only broadcast shows/sporting events that can have commercials inserted every 10 minutes, the game’s not going to break the US market. QED.

That was the point I made during the gentleman’s query about whether or not the length of the game would be a factor when I brought up Americans being conditioned to expect commercial breaks with their sports.  That’s why I recommended an officials’ time-out at the 20 minute mark of each half.  Two minutes, get the sponsors in, let everyone hit the can.

It could also help the strategic element of the game as well.  Let each coach make one unannounced substitution during the time-out.  You want some pitch-as-chess analogies?  That should give you some good starting material.

You’re right, though; Americans are only interested in what’s on TV.  That’s why we invented instant replay and split screen.

And anybody from Toilette & Douche wanting to become a semi-regular is cool by me.  It’s all part of my plan to spread the tendrils of my insidious mind control into areas of power everywhere. 

And here’s Sean Fri again:

Actually, not enough stats might come close for soccer’s low popularity.  The part that stats play in American sport is directly proportional to the amount of time during a game that you have to discuss them.  That’s why there are so many weird stats in Baseball – you need something to talk about while the batter adjusts his gloves for the seventeenth time in an at-bat.  There are NO stats in soccer, relatively speaking.  So what are you going to do for the 88 minutes during the game that there’s no action?  “Hey!  Remember that time when the guy kicked that ball?  That was great…”

Do you know how painful soccer PBP is to listen to because of that?  Statistics are the ultimate fallback for announcers to fill dead time.  Obviously, the commentators look at an individual at-bat/play/shot/point first, but when there aren’t any of those on a continual basis, out come the statistics, and when they’re aren’t any of significance…it’s sort of like ninety minutes of a Matt Hardy entrance graphic.  I fully expect to hear this exchange take place:

“Reg, do you know that Brad Friedel shaves his pubic hair exactly thirty-six hours before each match?  He feels that it gives him the perfect aerodynamic advantage in covering the goal.”

“Good idea, Brian, but David Seaman has been saying that there’s not a razor in the world that will touch anything near there.  He says that both his pubic hair and mustache act as spoilers for the airflow created by his rapidly-balding pate, and thus he can get around better inside the box than Friedel can.”

“Well, Reg, from what I understand, Friedel’s regimen does have a tendency to itch and slow you down that way.  But you can’t discount the success Rovers are having with him stripping down to bare essentials.  Friedel’s also been heard around Ewood saying that as Seaman gets as bald as he is, he’ll understand.”

“The rumor mill around the Gunners says that Seaman’s been bragging that he’ll put two big hairy Cups up against struggling to qualify for UEFA action any time, Brian.  Besides, this thorny, divisive issue will be resolved, since both sides have agreed to wind tunnel testing conducted by Posh Spice…”

But even if you shrank the nets, shrank the field and created more scoring opportunities, soccer would just turn into lacrosse, or worse, field hockey.  Nobody watches those either.  And lacrosse isn’t a bad game.  I think there’s probably nothing inherent in the actual game of soccer that makes it a bit player on the American sports scene.  It’s most likely a cultural issue.  We’re just not used to it, and it’s going to be hard to get us used to it.  What’s the proper analogy?  We drink beer while the euros drink wine?  I mean, never say never and all, but soccer just seems an unlikely fad to start after all these years.

Well, the more proper analogy would be that all of us drink beer, except that we like ours cold.  Took me a long time to get used to room-temp brew when I was over there.

At heart, you’re right.  It is a cultural issue.  The problem is that, culturally-speaking, Americans are the world’s dominant trans-national culture due to movies, television, and the Net.  Let me give an example of this from here at 411.  Ross Williams ranks pretty high for me on the Fellow 411 Writers Respect Scale because I can see how hard he tries to keep North American focus out of his columns.  He goes for a more generic “citizen of Planet Wrestling” approach that mutes down the Brit-isms tremendously (if you compare his latest work here to his first couple of columns, you can see that approach evolving).  He’s made himself more appealing to an audience by bringing the level of discourse down to basic commonalities.

My approach is different.  I’m the Cosmopolitan.  I acknowledge and incorporate cultural differences in my work and try to come up with some sort of amalgam that appeals to a diverse audience yet still makes the fact that my perspective is coming from one particular direction.

Both approaches are correct.  That’s why people read Williams and people read me, both inside the industry and outside.  The problem with soccer is that both the sport and the US tried to take the Cosmopolitan approach, especially at the ’94 World Cup, and passed each other by due to crossed wires.

Soccer shouldn’t need any kind of justification.  It’s the world’s sport.  The problem is that fans don’t see soccer as the sport of the dominant world culture.  Therefore, either excuses have to be made (“Those Ignorant Americans”) or efforts have to be made to get that culture to acknowledge the fact that soccer is, indeed, the world’s sport.  Soccer is just trying too hard to be loved, and is alienating the object of affection by being pushy.

I’d like to focus on one of Kevin Hutchinson’s reasons for soccer’s unpopularity:

3.  Over the Top Sports Commercialization
In the U.S. the commercialization of sports franchises, (oddly enough, including professional wrestling) has made professional sports more of corporate enterprise.  It is harder now to have a start up league or franchise.  Witness the $500M that is paid for a new NFL franchise.  It is
hard to take a sport, even an international one seriously, unless it commands billion dollar respect level.

Compare the NHL to the NBA.  The NHL has a terrible time getting its games on broadcast network television.  The NBA has 2 or 3 games per weekend, after the football season.

The reason for the latter is simple:  face marketability.  Unlike with football, the marketers have no clue whatsoever on how to market a hockey star, and never have with the exception of the real Great One (and his all-Canadian-boy looks made him a natural).  In their mind, you have to attach a face to a product, and there’s no way to do it with hockey.  Now look at the top marketing shills right now in basketball (active players only; Michael transcends all).  Shaq has his height, bulk, and boyish charm.  Iverson has a unique look that makes him instantly identifiable.  To a lesser extent, KG and Kobe do the same thing.  That’s how Nike’s going to market LeBron James.  You see the man, you see the product, you relate the two.

(The face marketing aspect is why advertisers love golfers to death.  There’s absolutely no distractions to the pimping.  No uniform, no helmet, no automobile to climb into, just a guy, his clothes, some grass, and a bag.  If a golfer reaches that popularity Nirvana that everyone would love to be at, there’s no end to the pimps.  Arnie’s still shilling motor oil.  Tigger will be showing us the new Buicks until the middle of the century.)

Face marketing, of course, works for soccer.  Mia Hamm’s considered a high-level sports pitchwoman worthy enough to be included with high-level male sports stars.  Landon Donovan and especially DaMarcus Beasley are well along on that track.  But there was still one element missing…

Now, why did I bring up this section of your statement more than any other, Kevin, other than to pull in the obvious golf thing?  It’s simple.  Last week, Nike signed a 13-year-old US soccer prodigy named Freddy Adu to a seven-figure endorsement deal.  He’s the star of the Under-17 US team, and there’s even rumors that he’s going to be slotted into the US team next year for Athens.  And you just know that Nike and its international marketing arm FIFA are drooling over the prospect of Freddy at Germany 2006.  This is the turning point.  You know that Nike takes a sport seriously when they start giving contracts to kids.  And if Nike takes a sport seriously, there’s a domino effect.

Mark Ellis decides to use the “start soccer and link to 411” tactic:

Here’s another thing that should irritate Mr Zucconi.  He was talking about Totti in the South Korea game.  I had the (great) pleasure of watching that amongst Italians in a French (Lyon) airport on the giant screen.  Totti dived (ie. pretended someone fouled him) pretty much every time he was tackled/beaten to the ball.  He’s a great player when he wants to be but he’s not the best advert to prove me wrong in my thinking that the Italians ‘cheat to win’ a lot more than other countries, especially as he was red-carded for diving in that game.

Just another reason to start implementing the Black and Blue Card.  That shit has to stop.  It’s bad enough we get mammoth overselling in wrestling.

Dave Harris comments on my Great Moments list:

Outside of the USA, I suspect that those sporting moments mean very little to the average sports fan.  The 97 Masters might be considered a major occurrence due to the way that Tiger demolished both the course and the opposition, but I doubt that most sports fans outside the USA are aware of any of the other notable moments.

And inside the US, most people aren’t aware of the moments that he mentioned, nor do they mean anything to US sports fans.  My counter was a “who’s being blind now?” type of response.  As I said, it’s a matter of perspective.  Using a statement like “You must be so dumb if you ignore a sport that has these kinds of exciting moments” begs for a counter.

Also, Dave, you make a good point about the US having a surplus of sports to follow, thus freezing soccer out of the mix.  I think you’re oversimplifying it a bit, though, because the US also has geographic and demographic factors that most of Europe doesn’t have to deal with.  Witness the popularity of college sports in Nebraska, Kansas, and Oklahoma, where total pro sports representation is one half a football team and one half a baseball team.

Geoff Chappell brings up some suggestions/points:

My theory on the low interest in the adult game is the level of attacking in soccer.  We love our games because generally people are always trying to score.  The NFL is number one in the U.S. I think because even the defense attacks the offense and can score points directly from their play.

In soccer half the time they are kicking the ball back toward their own goal.  You’ll see a team advance to midfield then get panicky and boot back either a short distance or all the back to the goalie.  Completely unAmerican!  Hell we boo when a batter gets intentionally walked in this country.

I coach kids in the under 8 age, and there is none of this backward kicking unless you have one of the lost children who have no idea where their goal is.  That’s why kids love the sport.

You’re right soccer players are the biggest wusses on earth.  Instead of a yellow card which really means nothing I would propose a 10 minute trip to the penalty box near the opposing team’s fans for the first flop and then a suspension for a game for a second one.

I’d also propose that one player could try to block the goalie’s punts.  I never liked the rule that makes the other team run away when the goalie gets his nands on the ball.  Give the goalie a “one Mississippi” count to get rid of the ball or one guy gets to rush him.

The trick here is to increase the offense without neutering the rules.  The offsides rule deserves to be destroyed, and it’s the key factor in keeping down scoring, which is why I concentrated on that.  I do love the idea of being able to pressure the goalie on out kicks, though.  And how about taking a page out of hockey and being able to pull the goalie in favor of a twelfth attacker?

Enough of that.

DBeefe shows that, thirty years after the FLQ, there’s still a little resentment on both sides in the province known as Quebec:

I just wanted to add to your sentiments about La Resistance and Quebec Francophones being seen by Les Francais as “le cou rouge”. I am an anglophone who formerly lived in Montreal. The “francophone” population is proud to inform everyone that Montreal which is the most English speaking part of Quebec is still a full 75% French speaking…..or perhaps I should say Franglais. French Canadians are not looked upon by Europeans as redneck equivelants. That would be
far too complimentary. Rather they are looked upon more in the vein of incoherent bottom feeding crack whores. The bastardized version of Canadian French sounds much like European French only the speaker would first have to consume large quantities of Sterno, fill their mouth with small rocks and be sure to throw in a religious curse word after every noun, verb, or adjective….or
similarly imitate Scott Steiner on the mic. The true French do not look upon French Canadians as being an amusing sub-culture to be laughed at any more than we would view the same of a wino throwing up on our shoes as we walked passed his park bench. Furthermore, if the ability of French Canadians to turn a nasal language like French into a gutteral sounding pidgin German was not amazing enough you should also marvel at their tendency to transform English words into
French sounding words. For example bon weekend instead of bon fin de semain, or deux hot dog although to be more accurate it would be pronounced ot dog as French Canadians drop the h if a word starts with it but adds the h if the word begins with a vowel (i.e. you dont ave to twist my harm).

At these times, I have to remind the audience that I was not out to insult francophone Canadians.  I simply inquired of Syl, a colleague and, before that, a fan, whether or not there was a stereotype attached to his people by francophone Europeans (and not necessarily only the French; I’ve had a couple encounters with francophone Swiss that make the French look like good ol’ boys).  According to DBeefe, there is, and there seems to be an undercurrent of hostility between the anglophone and francophone communities in regard to the possible “elitism” of the latter (Someone who speaks French being elitist?  Nah.).

I’ve got to admit that a lot of this inquiry is for personal reasons.  As I’ve said many times, the meat industry in Chicago is about 90% Mexican workers, mostly monolingual espanophone.  To my white-boy perception, a huge portion of them have the same attitude that a lot of anglophone Canadians consider the francophones to have (arrogance, total unwillingness to learn the other language, forcing compromises to be made on their behalf language-wise rather than meeting in the middle, etc.).  What Quebec has de jure regarding language, me and my peeps have de facto.  So, yeah, I’m interested in this subject.

Oh, there seems to be something else in common if DBeefe is correct.  I used a computer translation program to create production forms in English and Spanish when I was revising a set of paperwork for the former employer.  I passed them along to the barely-bilingual (in English; their Spanish was spiff) floor supervisory staff, but they weren’t very pleased about the forms.  Why?  The supervisors felt that the employees would feel insulted and intellectually demeaned by the forms since it had formal Spanish and not the dialect they used.  In other words, they were afraid of a computer program making their employees feel dumb because it spoke better formal, textbook Spanish than the employees.  But none of them would lift a f*cking finger to help alleviate the situation of people not knowing how to fill out production forms properly.  And you wonder why I left.

Patent Attorney James Drake (and if that had been “labor attorney”, you would have had a response mail about five seconds after I got yours, James) mentions a slight change in Cartoon Network’s schedule regarding alternatives to Raw and Smackdown.  Pokemon was, indeed, split into two half-hours at 9AM ET and 9PM ET rather than being blocked in the hour from 8:30PM ET to 9:30PM ET.  Tragedy for James’ five-year-old daughter; triumph for the rest of the mature world.  But remember the wrestling connection, people:

Jamie Kellner is the man who brought Pokemon to the US when he was head of Kids’ WB.  Jamie Kellner is the man who cancelled all WCW programming.

Brad Siegel is the head of Cartoon Network.  Brad Siegel is the man who still has a half-hour of Pokemon scheduled against both Raw and Smackdown.  Brad Siegel was the Turner Toady in charge of WCW when Kellner made the decision to pull the plug.

Pokemon and the WCW situation…book a time at the Hague, James.  I think we’ve got a Crimes Agaisnt Humanity case here.  And I don’t see one word about June Bugs anywhere on the site, nor have I seen a promo for it.  If there’s no June Bugs this year, that’s the clincher.

Memo to Todd Kogutt:  Everyone has different definitions of “major race”.  That’s why I threw mine out and justified as being something easily quantifiable yet restrictive enough to make the Trifecta Club elite, as a tribute to Mark Lenard.  Janeway as Borg Queen?  Hmmmm…dunno.  Considering Janeway, a Borg Queen is a step down.  But I swear the only reason she’s still alive after her antics is that punishing violators of the Temporal Prime Directive must be a violation of the Temporal Prime Directive.  As for your final quote:  Not a bad idea for a Elite Force series…though you missed the most important member…a time displaced Porthos!…I thought I was evil.  But, I do have to give the beagle credit:  two seasons in, and he hasn’t saved the ship once.  That’s remarkable restraint for a Trek character.  I mean, even Hoshi’s saved the ship, and it’s arguable that Porthos is twenty times more useful than she is.

Memo to Chris Sperry:  The whole situation with Annika is the reason that I cannot listen to the Score for one minute.  Yes, the secret to getting ratings on sports talk radio is pandering to the prejudices of the audience.  But there’s a fine line between pandering and being completely obnoxious.  They crossed it a long time ago, especiallly Dan Bernstein.  So I definitely tune out and try to ignore the fact that these yo-yos are the formers of sports opinion in our hometown.

By the way, since I tuned out, I was wondering about this:  with the LPGA over at Stonebridge over the weekend (and I was in Aurora on Sunday visiting friends, so I can tell you there were damn good crowds there), was there any talk about it on Misogyny Radio?  There might have been yesterday considering who won by three strokes.

Memo to Max Katz:  Yes, I’ll acknowledge “Tainted Love”, but Soft Cell’s version was infinitely better than Gloria Jones’.

Memo to Jo From Singapore:  Yes, Keith is a little chunky.  And you and a few other people said something incredibly obvious about the Champions’ League Final:  it’s always the same old teams getting in, and, yes, it’s all about money.  God knows that we Americans had enough of this with the Vast NBA/NBC Conspiracy To Keep Michael In The Playoffs As Long As Possible.  Plus, I wasn’t saying that you needed to follow the sport closely to see who’s going to be in the Champions’ League, but rather than you needed to follow the sport closely to see who’s getting into the UEFA Cup (and formerly the Cup Winners’ Cup) as well, and trying to figure out which permutations lead to which tournament.  Same argument you’d use on figuring out who’s getting NFL wild card playoff spots.

I’ll have Nick D close this one out:

Mr. America will be unmasked, but it won’t be Hogan, since this is such a money (read: masturbatorial) angle, they might want to stretch it out more and have him unmasked as, who else, Brutus Beefcake. Oh come on, we’re gonna see him sooner or later.

And the reason I put this at the end was so that all the little children and smarks out there can have a wonderful panoply of nightmares when they lay their head down to sleep.  And memo to Kandriasin:  No, I don’t look like Dan Severn; I’m blond.