Opinions, Etc 06.25.04


Ed note: Eric had this to me on Wednesday, unfortunately I came down with a wicked case of salmonella and have been out of action since then. Here he is, late with my apologies. -Daniels

Once there was…a house bursting with all kinds of goods and chattels, inhabited by a mighty family, created by the blessed labours of many, many generations, illuminated by worship for God, a memory of the past, and by everything that is called religion and culture. What has been done to this house? The overthrow of the head of the house has been paid for by the destruction of literally the entire house and by unprecedented fratricide, by the whole bloody nightmare farce whose monstrous consequences are countless…This global villain, bearing a banner with the mocking slogan of liberty, fraternity, equality, has climed onto the neck of the ‘savage’ and is calling for conscience, shame, love, and mercy to be trampled in the mud…That degenerate, that congenital moral imbecile, has revealed to the world in the very heat of his activity something monstrous and devastating: he has ravaged the greatest country in the world and murdered millions of people, yet in broad daylight people are debating the question of whether he is a benefactor of mankind or not.

Some Iraqi mullah talking about Dubbaya, right? Wrong. Ivan Bunin talking about Lenin. But I’m hoping that one of our Iraqi readers passes it on for use by one of them, because it certainly fits.

This was originally started last week for Black, honestly. I was going to get one in, but exhaustion and the mind-numbing bullshit of orientation prevented me from doing so. Let me tell you more…


There was one big problem I had over the weekend, and believe it or not, it’s because of the pills. I saw my shrink on Thursday afternoon and asked him about something very strange that had happened to me. The Damn Vaninator was pretty much fully loaded by that point. All that was needed to be put in was the computer and my toiletries. When I left Chicago to come to Nebraska, I was four hours late leaving because I didn’t feel like doing it. But this time, I started loading up the Damn Vaninator a week in advance. And strangest of all, I took everything that I wanted to and didn’t forget anything (except my bathroom mat, but I’ll still be taking a few showers in Lincoln; I should have taken it because I didn’t know how slippery the tile is in there and ended up twisting my knee stopping myself from falling). The shrink told me that the Abilify has essentially given me back my motivation and sharpness of memory. Please note that first item. It comes into play after the jaunt to Kansas.

So I get to Emporia, booking enough time prior to my move-in appointment to have lunch and hit the cable company. I already knew that I would be forced to sign up in person, being a new customer. No problem. So I hit the cable place and order a nice digital cable/Net package that’s about thirty bucks per month cheaper than Time-Warner in Lincoln (and I presume everywhere else I’ve had Time-Warner). They give me two digital boxes (I only have one TV, but I took both anyway) and a nice, new Moto cable modem. Then they tell me two things: 1) We need money immediately and 2) The quickest we can have the service turned on is Tuesday.

Oh, shit. The money I gave them was my gas and food money for this week. This is going to be very interesting, I thought. It was going to be a race to see which gets there first: the charges I put on my Visa debit card or me getting back to Lincoln and hitting the bank on Saturday with the last of my unemployment checks. And as for eating, fortunately, I don’t eat very much anyway, although I’m eating more because the pills are giving me my appetite back. But the real nub was the Tuesday thing. Frankly, a weekend without cable or the Net is intolerable. But I thought I was smart, because I planned for this contingency. I brought some DVDs and tapes with me. Besides, I had to unload the Damn Vaninator, right? That should take a while to get it unloaded and unpack everything that could be, right?

Wrong. Thanks to the pills, the Damn Vaninator was unloaded by 8:30 Saturday morning. This included breaks to have a swim (one of the complex’s pools is right outside my door, and it was f*cking HOT on Friday) and to hit Wal-Mart twice (the first time for a second shower curtain for the second bathroom and drinks, the second time for munchies and things I forgot on the first trip). Then the anti-apathy problem with the pills became magnified. I got bored. Really, really bored. Couldn’t keep my mind on games, didn’t feel like watching anything I brought, didn’t want to read any of the books I brought, nothing.

And I’m in Emporia, Kansas. This town is Decorah, Iowa with a Starbucks drive-thru and broadband. It’s a flat Wausau, Wisconsin. They rolled up the streets one night and forgot to roll them back out in the morning. There’s one half-deserted mall and nothing else (fortunately, the half that isn’t deserted contains a Department of Motor Vehicles Outlet Store; I was wondering where I could get a license and plates). There is absolutely nothing here to alleviate boredom. I was so bored that before starting this, I knocked out my Jukebox for Fernandez, which is set for August. I was so bored on Sunday that by 1 PM, I’d already taken two showers and a nap. Here’s how bored I was: I was taking enjoyment in changing lightbulbs. Now, I always do this when I move in to some place that has its own light fixtures. I don’t like the lightbulbs that normally come with your average apartment. When I moved to Lincoln, I picked up nine lightbulbs, which I replaced with the originals before I left, taking the ones I bought with me (they’re perfectly good and rather expensive lightbulbs). The problem here is that the apartment has twenty-four light fixtures (and none in the living room, of course, which is why I was smart and brought two floor lamps). That leaves me thirteen bulbs short, and these bulbs are three and a half bucks a pop at Wal-Mart here. Unfortunately, that’s the cheapest I can find them, including at Home Depot in Lincoln. I got so bored I even turned one of the walls of the living room into an “I Love Me” Wall, putting up my diploma, various certifications that I’ve had, etc. Of course, this meant another trip to Wal-Mart. And I have to go back to replace the two frames that fell down and broke their glass. Stupid two-sided sticky shit. I eventually gave up on that, but I was happy to get the stuff framed.

I was even so bored that I went driving around the parking lots of the plant looking for the USDA reserved parking spaces. Hey, other than getting to be an asshole fifty weeks of the year, this is one of my few perks, and I wanted to know where they were. Couldn’t find them, BTW, and I was surprised to see the plant not operating on Saturday. This had better be an aberration. Eric needs his overtime.

So, I was bored, bored enough to write all of this shit you see above on Sunday, just to have something to do. The Damn Vaninator’s emptier and cleaner than it’s been since I was in Kenosha (that’s three moves ago, for you who are keeping track). I’ve found shit I thought I’d lost, like my 5/16″ socket for battery terminal removal. And I had to do it again last weekend with more shit so that the final move on the 26th can go smoothly as possible. At that time, my kitchen, my computer desk, and my computer chair came with me. Again, an easy load and unload; only a couple of bruises here and there.

But, wait, there was more. Beginning Sunday night of the first week, the following sequence of events occurred:

1) Windows went tits up when hal.dll decided to magically corrupt itself. Windows sucks.

2) My Windows disk was in one of the three boxes of computer stuff I DIDN’T take to Emporia. Packing sucks.

3) Fucking Knoppix wouldn’t recognize my RAID array. Linux sucks.

4) I wouldn’t have Net access until Tuesday, which left using Knoppix to get on the Net to get a non-corrupt file and somehow get it on to the system a non-option. CableOne sucks.

5) I traveled fifty miles to the Best Buy in Topeka on Monday on the way to Lawrence and the motel to get an uncorrupted copy through the usual method of the morons never looking at what you’re doing. Unfortunately, I copied hid.dll, God knows why. Best Buy sucks.

6) So Tuesday night, I traveled the two hundred plus miles from Lawrence back to Lincoln to fill up the Damn Vaninator again, making certain that the Windows disk was in a grocery bag with important stuff like an extra roll of toilet paper. All hail having 1 1/2 baths in this place for just myself. I then slept in my bed for a very short period on Tuesday night and went directly to Lawrence for Wednesday orientation. I then came back to Emporia. Lawrence, Emporia, and Lincoln all suck.

(Note: Distance from Lawrence to Emporia: 80 miles. Distance from Lawrence to Lincoln: 210 miles. Distance from Lincoln to Emporia: 240 miles. In other words, I was putting in a f*ck of a lot of driving.)

7) Recovery console didn’t work, as usual. Microsoft sucks.

8) Had to do a stub install of Windows just to copy one f*cking file over. Thanks to fun and games involving the RAID array driver, that took me until 9:30 Wednesday night. I then had to get some sleep in order to get back to Lawrence the next morning. Sleeping sucks.

9) Had to go back to Lawrence to finish orientation on Friday morning. Then, because I’m such a short distance away, I had to report to the plant to finish my work day, which means back to Emporia. Then after work, I had to go back to Lincoln to get said stuff above. Bruises and moving by yourself suck.

And now, this upcoming weekend, I have to finish everything off. Go from Emporia to Lincoln, grab the U-Haul, fill it up, get the apartment cleaned, go back to Emporia dragging the Damn Vaninator behind me, unload the U-Haul, return it, and collapse. Hopefully I can get up for work on Monday morning, which is going to be a doubtful proposition.

As for work, I’ll spare you the details of the soul-destroying orientation process. Three days plus of utter, complete boredom. One good thing did come out of it: thanks to having three years plus on active duty in the Army, instead of getting two and a half weeks of vacation a year, I get four weeks.

The plant’s a dump. The USDA office is abominable. But they did have my uniforms waiting for me, which was nice. I look like a gas station attendant (white shirt with my name on one side and “USDA” on the other, blue pants), but it’s nicer than a red smock with a yellow hardhat (that was the Ohio Era, in case you were wondering). And it’s going to take time to get a rhythm going and remember all my old tricks about what to cut and where to cut it, because I’ve never tried to cut stuff on a moving line before, and those cuts have to be precise.

My boss is named Doc Johnson. Only appropriate, because I feel like someone’s stuck a dildo up my ass.

The other vet…really weird. He and I got to talking last Friday, and it turns out that we were stationed at the same hospital in Germany at roughly the same time, in the same building, with me one floor above him. And yet we never met. Life takes some weird turns sometimes.

Enough about that. Let’s talk about the world and shit…


A new Wrestling Column automatically means the God Slot for GRUT!

Amblegay‘s otherbray is full of itshay.

Slayer does not mention me discussing golf, despite the fact that the US Open just took place on Lon Guyland, which is part of his bailiwick. Baliff, whack his pee-pee. And if he reads any of my columns, he’d know that spyware doesn’t have to be a problem with IE if you take the proper precautions.

Here’s something fun. Let’s see if Bishop can predict what I’ll say in the Short Form after Raw next week.

Zlock focuses on the retard, but gets pimped anyway.

Cocozza sets everyone up for Evocator.

Rutherford goes quickie and nasty, just like you love him.

Misha and Marvin go through the daily grind in Games.

Erhardt and Stevens are on the DC beat. Graham‘s on the small press tip.


I’m getting sick of the new crop of virulent spy/ad/malware that has shown up, but fortunately, I’m becoming more adept at using Hijackthis to discover the causes and cleaning it up. Still, it pisses me off how a lot of them nowadays are using DLL files that are a bitch to track down unless you’re very lucky. On one computer here at work, when trying to execute one of its popup routines, the spyware caused an error message in a particular file, and when searching for the file on Google, I found the cause and was able to clear up the offending spyware, but only after booting into DOS via the WinXP CD and using the good ole ATTRIB command to change the file to where I could delete it. Then the problem was solved. It’s pretty sad how viruses are a lot easier to clean up than this shit is. – BAXLEY!, whose brother got nailed with some malware that I helped treat

A lot of people have a very pat solution on the subject of spyware: switch to Mozilla/Firefox. It used to be that it was only the evangelical Open Source Slashdot-type smelly-due-to-lack-of-personal-hygeine masturbating chimps who ejaculate over anything Open Source and genuflect every time the names “Richard Stallman” and “Eric Raymond” are mentioned who pushed MozFox. But now normal people are doing it too. I don’t, for at least three very good reasons:

1) Too many idiots designed websites that are IE-only or IE-specific. We’re talking things like banking sites and such. Any website that uses ActiveX is a pain in the nuts for MozFox.

2) Spyware slimeballs have figured out that people are switching to MozFox because of their activities, and are now designing ways to install spyware directly through MozFox instead of using IE-only methods.

3) Well…I’ll let Regular Andrew Ormberg discuss this one, in a letter he titled “Welcome Back, Now Fix My Computer”:

The subject says it all. First, thank f*ck you’re back – that other dude tried but he’s just not the same.

Hey, Gags is a great guy and a damn good writer. I think he did a good job. Yeah, he’s not me, but, let’s face it, I’m beyond Gagnon-great (he’ll understand that one).

I’m having Mozilla problems/a magical resetting computer (happened a couple times on Sunday and once yesterday), but I actually need help with my roomate’s. He finally got a PC, so I got Norton, the XP firewall (it actually got perfect stealth at grc.com) and of course – spyware.

Wait until XP SP2 comes out. The firewall’s actually useful in there. Switch him over to something like Zone Alarm for now, which provides feedback.

I also figured best to get em young and switched him to Mozilla Firefox instead of IE. The problem is that Spyware Blaster doesn’t think it’s installed. I’ve tried un/reinstalling both blaster and firefox 0.9, but it still says Mozilla isn’t on there.

The problem lies in Firefox. 0.9 just came out, and it broke a LOT of stuff, including some extensions which have worked for dog’s years. The latest version of SpywareBlaster is pre-0.9. With MozFox, though, SpywareBlaster acts as a cookie blocker with a preloaded set of malicious ad cookies. So the problems are less than if SpywareBlaster didn’t recognize IE. Just tell MozFox to block cookies or block them on an individual level, and you should be fine for now.

PS: My problem (which I have another guy looking at right now) is that since I installed Java (the Mozilla links take me to the Sun page your links do) is everytime I start the computer/Mozilla it brings up a “Firefox is installing extentions, this may take a few mintues…” message that stays even when I left the PC on all night.

Ditto the JVM in re 0.9. 0.9 has a tough time installing extensions anyway. I’d switch back to a 0.8 build or try one of the nightlies from the CVS repository.

And Raw Regular The Joe In Me has a question about one of the normal programs being pimped:

I’ve got Spybot S&D’s anti-hijacker program running, just like you said, and it works well for the most part. However, sometimes, when I get the little pop-up message from the program asking if I want to block known threat #24601 from downloading, when I say “Yes,” the page stops loading. Is there any way to get around this? For some websites, namely 411, the page will finish loading. But, for plenty of others, they just stop loading. Does the load time just take longer than I’m allowing, or what? Also, most websites that it detects known threats at only have them some of the time. For example, AllMusic.com will almost always load up right away, but occasionally I will get the message asking if I want to block the known threat. When I say yes, the page stops loading. Most of the times, it’s when I block the threat called “Avenue, Inc” or something like that, that cause the pages to stop loading. Any assistance or insight into why this happens and how to get around it would be fantastic.

Some pages are contingent on the ad running because the ad page itself is a redirector to the content. We have some of those here at 411. The URL of the link is actually the ad page, which plants the ad on your screen and then redirects you back to the actual content. So in those cases, the page won’t load. What I’d do in that case is tell Spybot to load the page and let IE-SpyAd dump the contents into the Restricted Zone, where it can’t harm anyone. This is true of many places that serve ad pages from FastClick (like here) and Avenue A, which was the company you were thinking of. And as for your other question, DirectConnect does contain adware (not necessarily spyware). However, its Open Source clone, DC++, does not, and it runs better, is smaller, and has more features (and, of course, works on the Direct Connect network). You can get that here.

And now to our normal message:

Remember, this all started because the slugs at Enigma Software dared to advertise their piece of shit SpyHunter here at 411. So I’m responding every single column with proper anti-spyware information.

Big, big Kudos to the guys at the Spyware Warrior Forum for pointing out to everyone the extent of criminal activity participated in by Enigma Software, makers of the bane of advertising on this site, SpyHunter. Slimeballs extraordinare, aren’t they? And in case you need more info about what flaming bags of shit they are, try here. Suzi’s Blog has a great list of other flaming bags of shit that promote anti-spyware programs that are spyware themselves. Consult it if you have questions.

One of the leading vectors for spyware is so-called free programs that contain this shit in order to “pay the bills”. No one deserves that kind of treatment. If you’ve got a question about whether or not a certain program contains spyware, head over here. It’s a nice alphabetized list of programs that do contain spyware and should be avoided at all costs.

Here’s a list of the programs you really need to help you get rid of menaces, and, more importantly, prevent them from occurring in the first place:

Spybot and AdAware. The ONLY two spyware removal tools to trust. Do NOT buy any spyware removal tools, because none of them work better than these two, and all of them except these two are suspect.

SpywareBlaster. Will nuke twelve hundred different potentially malicious ActiveX controls, and now has the ability to prevent a number of non-ActiveX methods of installing spyware for people who use Mozilla/Firefox.

SpywareGuard. From Javacool, like SpywareBlaster. It’s a real-time scanner for spyware. A decent first line of defense.

IE-SpyAd. Throws numerous ad-related URLs into IE’s Restricted Zone, where they won’t display or affect your system. Bookmark this one, since it’s the only one that doesn’t have an in-program update.

A few people have recommended also installing the Sun Java Virtual Machine, since it’s Windows’ buggy, half-assed implementation of the JVM that allows a lot of spyware to install (less so within the past month and a half than before). I’ve resisted putting it here because of a couple things: 1) The MS JVM was removed in XP SP1a due to the Sun court case and replaced with a Sun JVM, and I’m not sure how many people have actually patched. 2) The link above is an automatic download, and that does scare some people. Don’t worry, it’s perfectly safe. I wouldn’t have put it here if it wasn’t. But I STRONGLY recommend that you visit here and update your version of Java.

I’m going to add another program here. It’s a little tough to work with for noobs if it goes buggy (you need to know a little something about your Networking settings in order to debug if something should go wrong). Protowall is a supplement to your firewall or NAT system. It hooks directly into XP’s networking system to block any and all traffic that comes from URLs on a list maintained by the program (all protocols, not just TCP/UDP). It’s mainly designed for anti-P2P purposes (which will appeal to a great many of my readers), but it contains lists to block spyware and ads. Its blocklist can easily be updated using its supplementary program, Blocklist Manager. I have Protowall running and a Blocklist Manager icon on my desktop, and I use Blocklist Manager to update the blocklist every couple of days. You will have problems getting to some sites unless you shut down Protowall temporarily, like ESPN or Sports Illustrated, but it does have a tray icon you can right-click and shut down in a few seconds. It’s the third layer of anti-ad material for me, with IE-SpyAd and AdSubtract running alongside it. Warning, though: it only works with XP. I’d recommend its predecessor, Peer Guardian, for other MS OSes, but it isn’t being developed anymore, and there were still bugs in it when development stopped. You can get Protowall and the Blocklist Manager (which will also work with Peer Guardian) at Bluetack’s site.

Of course, only download them from the links provided above.

With AdAware and Spybot, check for updates using their internal update function at least once a week. Run them at least once a week or whenever you think you might have problems. Remember, the new version of Spybot has browser protection capabilities, so have that run at startup and leave it running. Check for updates to SpywareBlaster once a week. It only needs to be run once initially in order to establish protection. Then, after it downloads updates, just click on the line that says “Enable Protection For All Unprotected Items” (definitely run that one, since they just put in another database update in the last couple days) and kill it. It doesn’t need to be active. For IE-SpyAd, bookmark the site and check for updates twice a week, since it has no kind of internal updater. Run the Blocklist Manager every couple of days to make sure that you keep up on the latest banned URLs. Since all it does is add Registry entries, it doesn’t eat up anything.

If you’re having trouble with spyware or a browser hijacker, or think that you do, head over to the SpywareInfo Forums, where the pros there can help you diagnose and get rid of stuff. I was promoted to Full Helper status there and ended up joining ASAP, the Alliance of Security Analysis Professionals. Look for their symbol, which I’m not going to try to link to anymore because someone at the other end keeps munging it.


It’s old news for the purpose of this column, but I have to discuss Mad Dog’s actions the weekend when the September 11th Commission called the Junta out on the fact that there’s no connection between Iraq and al-Qaeda, a fact that I’ve been reiterating since the talk about Iraq started long before we went in. Instead of quietly shutting up and letting the spinmeisters try to deal with it, he went out publicly and started dropping the Big Lie, insisting that there was a connection to anyone who’d listen. And I thought the only Hitlerian figure in the Junta was Attorney General Bormann.

Lord Halliburton’s in big f*cking trouble now. No one’s believing him because of his personal financial interest in the reconstruction of Iraq (just because you have a blind trust doesn’t mean that you aren’t going to make money when you get it to see again). Everyone’s believing the bipartisan panel of reputable politicians that investigated the Junta’s actions in and around September 11th. Now the American public has something to latch on to other than statements by me and lesser columnists that the war in Iraq was a Wag the Dog to get the nation into a frenzy about something while conveniently ignoring the fact that we screwed the pooch on bin Laden.

And the bullshitting continues. Somehow, the figures regarding terrorist attacks and deaths published by the State Department were “recalculated” from initial reports to show an increase. Here’s cnn.com’s report of that:

The State Department’s annual Patterns of Global Terrorism report now counts 208 terrorist attacks as having occurred in 2003, with 625 dead. When the report was released in April, it counted 307 deaths in a total of 190 terror attacks.

The number of people killed in terrorist attacks worldwide still declined in 2003 when compared with 2002, when 725 people were killed. But the decline was much less steep than originally reported, and the number of “significant attacks” — those involving large numbers of casualties or property damage — increased from 138 in 2002 to 175 in 2003, a 21-year-high.

Here’s their excuse on why the initial numbers were so low:

The State Department eventually conceded that the original report failed to include a number of deadly attacks in the latter part of 2003, including a car bomb that exploded in a housing compound in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and a series of attacks in Istanbul, Turkey, all of which took place in November.

“For the past two weeks now, we have had a major effort under way within the State Department to get to the bottom of the data error and determine what corrections were appropriate and to make those corrections so we could show those corrections to the American people,” Powell said Tuesday.

Powell previously blamed the erroneous conclusions on mistakes, not political pressure.

Bullshit, Missus Evocator. The numbers were so low that the Junta was in a complete panic frenzy. Their chances in November are now completely predicated on a terrorist threat and the American public’s aversion to not switching horses in mid-stream, and they know it. So get the monkeys at Foggy Bottom to twist around some numbers to redefine the term “terrorist attack” and go with the expanded figure, then blame it on a database error from the guy providing the data to the CIA, which passed it on to State. Fortunately, they’re being called out on it by the usual suspects:

Democratic Rep. Henry Waxman of California has suggested the numbers were being “manipulated” to serve the Bush administration’s political interests.

They always pull out Henry Waxman when they’re dealing with Powell. You just can’t charge the guy with racism, which is always a problem when dealing with Powell. He looks like Ned Flanders, only bald, and you just can’t picture Ned Flanders as a racist. Besides, Charles Rangel has too much baggage to be the regular anti-Powell spokesperson for the Good Guys.

So start hammering the Junta hard on this, guys and gals. You know you want to, and now you’ve got the paperwork to get away with it and still come off looking good in the eyes of the public, who are still bamboozled by the yellow-ribbon horseshit. And if I see another one of those attached to another car (about half of them in Emporia have one attached, which shows you the wonderful effects of the Junta Economy on Middle American small towns), I think I’ll pick up a baseball bat.


I am not going to turn this into a regular feature due to my respect and love for the late, lamented Spy Magazine, and I don’t feel like doing a Separated At Birth thing (besides, I can’t beat espn.com’s pairing of Lou Holtz and Martina Navarotilova). However, there are a couple that need to be mentioned.

The first comes from Chop Chop, who took time out of flying with the Blackhawks to scribble me:

Was watching the Germans at Euro 2004 the other day, and as they were lining up for the national anthem, they gave us a close-up of goalkeeper Oliver Kahn. What scared me (apart from the fact that he’s a very ugly individual) was the physical resemblence to one Lex Luger – or is it just me?

Decide for yourself. Oliver Kahn and Lex Luger. And here’s one where he looks like Shane Douglas.

And to stay on the wrestling side of the equation, here’s mine for this week. The lady who signs my paychecks, Ann Veneman, and Ivory.


Let’s get some predictions out of the way for what’s left of Euro 2004. Fellow Arsenal fan Colin Pigeau, as usual, does the honors:

Portugal vs England Portugal has done well to keep a clean sheet the last couple games, but it wasn’t so much due to defence as it was to their constant pressure on the attack. Aside from the Three Minute Panic Attack, England showed that they could have all their men in their box and keep the ball out. A few blazing counterattacks, and Rooney’s been putting them in. Looks like he is for real, after all. What Portugal needs to do, and they did it finally against Spain, is start Christiano Ronaldo. Despite playing for the most hated of teams, Manchester United, this kid is unreal; and it just so happens that he’s been the only real creative spark for the Pork and Cheese, as Figo’s gone missing for much time in the games. England, 3-1

I’m on the verge of disagreeing with the result. Figo’s bound to show up sometime, and it might be in this game. I wouldn’t be surprised with a 1-nil or 2-1 result either way. Too close to call, I think. You’ve got to remember that the Portugese are at home, and that crowd is going to turn them on, especially in a close game.

France vs Greece Don’t believe the column from yesterday, I picked France to win it all.

My bad. We both had Spain in the final and France winning it all. I predicted 2-nil, in case you forgot about two weeks ago. Well, I did, but I have a very good excuse about why I did with all this moving.

The problem is, They’ve looked quite vulnerable. They’ll control whole games, but just not be able to get that last touch to put it in. The upside is, Henry has finally scored, and will now be The Man. He’s not a traditional target-man striker; he has to roam and come in off the left, and walk through the whole defence, like his brace against La Suisse. He’s the best player in the world, and his international appearances have to show that. Pires has been dangerous every time he’s touched the ball, but he’s been playing on the right, as Zidane likes the left, although the two have been playing Total Football, and going all over the place. The middle’s been a little weak, as Makalele has disappeared and Vieira hasn’t been as dominant as he plays for the Gunners. Greece, I picked as a dark horse, so I don’t feel too bad about the Spaniards being out. They just couldn’t score. Greece has shown that they’re for real, and play very well positionally. They’re disciplined, and rarely get caught out. That’s how Spain got their one goal, and then Greece showed that they’ll just wait for their counter, and hit it. They are playing Frence though. Zizou has been unbelievable. France, 2-0

Agree totally. But don’t fall into the I-Love-Zidane-So-Much-I-Want-To-Have-His-Children Trap. He’s due for a bad game, and this one would be the safest to do it in. He’s not going to have another chance. Sweden vs Holland Sure, it was against Bulgaria, the only team to lose in group C, but Sweden’s opening 5-0 win makes every other team look at them twice. Not only that, but their 1-1 tie with Italy came from Ibrahimovich getting the goal of the tournament so far; a wonderful backheel flick with his back to goal and 5 feet in the air. The bracketing here is such that their uncanny ability to get a good result should really help them along, possibly to the finals. And they would not be unworthy champions. Holland have again been in the finest game of the tourney, only to lose. It’s no surprise to lose to the powerful Czechs, but Holland bounced back to thrash the surprisingly tight Latvians. Van Nistelrooy has shown yet again that he can’t create a goal, but he’ll get into the box and pound in everything the amazing Dutch wingers will give him. Robben has been the best in the Oranje shirt, and he’ll wreak havoc on the left. This game will be offence galore. Holland, 3-2

I’m not enthused about either team. I’ll agree based on the fact that the Dutch underwhelm me less than the Swedes do, at least by one goal. However, it’ll be an offensive-based match, which’ll make it watchable. Czech Rep. vs Denmark This is the team to beat. Their brand of football is a cross between Dutch flair, and Deutsch efficiency. In their first two games they showed the class and heart to battle back and win despite going down. The match against the Oranje was especially good. Nedved is up there with the best midfielders in the world (with Zizou, Figo, and Vieira), and Baros/Koller is probably the best strike team in the tournament. Denmark has surprised, not by merely advancing to the quarter finals, but playing some very good soccer. Their players can be found in all the big leagues, and while they’re not the best or most glamourous, they have experience and play well together, which is obviously the main thing. I love being wrong on the group, because I loathe Italy. Denmark showed that they were a danger right from the first game by completely outplaying the Azzuri. Could there be memories of ’92, when Denmark won the whole thing? I doubt it, but hats off to them. Czech Rep., 2-1

For me, liking Italy just because I happen to have a mostly-blue wardrobe is like picking a racehorse on the color of the jockey’s silks. They’re worth hatred. Not as much as ManU, but still. Screw Italy. But agreed on the Czechs. They’re a class act. It’ll be a close one, though. Semis England vs Holland Holland has been dangerous on the set pieces, just where England has been lacking. I’d like to think the Oranje can do it here, but I have my doubts; not to mention the fact that they haven’t qualified yet. Plus, the Dutch back line isn’t the greatest, and Rooney’s on. England, 3-1

I have no idea why you love the Dutch so much. If Bergkamp were still playing internationally, yeah, I could see it, but they do have one advantage over England: they’re more of a team. That won’t be enough. And if it’s the Portugese, forget it. Not at home. France vs Czech Rep. I had France taking this one before, but I think the Czechs are going all the way now. France keeps pulling them out, but look very vulnerable doing it. A class team like these Czechs will burn them. Zidane wants this to be his tournament, but it’s ripe for Nedved. Czech Rep., 2-1

I’m sticking with France. As I said, Zidan’e bad game will come against the goat-f*ckers, and I’ll go so far to say that it’ll come down to a Golden Goal by him or Pires. But wouldn’t we both mark out if it was Vieira? Finals England vs Czech Rep. As good as he’s been in the England strip, the Limeys have been relying on Rooney, and he might be burned out by this point. Not to mention the pressure on the shoulders of an eighteen year old kid. Hard-tackling Czechs might be a bit much for him. England’s defence has been excellent at keeping attackers from getting the final ball in the box, but the Czechs have also been good at finding a way to get it into the back of the net when it counts. England has relied on Sol Campbell to clear danger with his head, but a cross coming in for 6’9″ Jan Koller has goal written all over it. Czech Rep., 2-0

I would have France over England in the Chunnel Game Finals here, again 2-nil. But if it’s France/Portugal, that’s a different story. Another OT game, definitely, and one that’ll be too close to call. Damn, I’m hedging my bets here…


He sent it to me, I’m going to print it. It’s that damn good, and, hell, it’s Fleabag. My original comments from yesterday are in italics, his comments are in bold, my comments to his comments are in plaintext. Simple, right?

Well, that was an…interesting final round of the US Open. Apparently Shinnecock’s been renamed “Carnoustie West” when we weren’t looking. Man, when Boring Ol’ Ernie shoots an 80 in the final round of a major, something’s seriously f*cked up. Two golfers under par for the entire tournament? Yeah, I can see that from a US Open. That’s the way it used to be pre-Tigger. But nobody shooting under par in the final round? 28 of the world’s best pros not able to break 80? That’s weird, and someone at the USGA is going to take the gas pipe for this. Players are already heavily bitching about the conditions, especially on Sunday when the 7th green had to be watered between each group.

This is EXACTLY what separates the Open and the USGA in general from “real” tradition, i.e. – The Masters. The Old White Men at Augusta KNOW they are better than you and don’t need to play God with the golf course to do it. That, in itself, is the definition of earned class and prestige vs. inherited and faux noblesse oblige that the USGA tries to shove down our throats every year. Hell, even the Royal and Ancients let the courses be courses (see: Carnoustie)…could you imagine them sending a Groundskeeper Willie out to mow the rough or add fill dirt to the bunkers?

This links (pun intended) into something that Regular Ian Wright asked me, namely how do we Americans judge the ranking of the majors? The Open Championship, of course, is tops over there, with the Masters second. The order’s reversed here, with the Masters narrowly edging the Open Championship. Part of that is pure provincialism on our part, of course, but part of it is the fact that the tournament’s played every year at Augusta instead of being on a rotation. Golf fans know every single contour of Amen Corner thanks to this, and the course is so f*cking beautiful…it’s the cradle of American Golf. Only when the US Open is on an unfamiliar course does interest increase. That was the case with Bethpage two years ago and Olympia Fields last year (not in my case regarding the latter, of course). And people bitched about Olympia Fields for “not being a US Open course”. It’s regarded as a treasure in Chicago, as much so as Cog Hill #4 or Medinah #3. Fuck them, and f*ck the USGA for turning Suck-My-Cock Hills into a torture test.

But at least there was a little drama while everyone was tripping over themselves, what with Lefty and his Flex-like crowd-attracting capability. When Lefty entered the 17th tied with the Goose, everyone was in anticipation of another eighteen on Monday to decide it. But then Lefty became the pre-Masters Lefty and choked the life out of himself, his game, the crowd, and the TV audience. Aw, tough shit. Goddamn, I am seriously getting to hate Phil Mickleson with a passion. Yeah, it’s good for the game to have someone other than Tigger to cheer for, but him? He’s won one major in 48 tries. That, to me, spells “loser”. And three-putting from five feet, even on those greens, really spells “loser”. That’s how he pissed the tournament away on 17 on Sunday. He’s the Kane of golf, people, only without the whole Lita/pregnancy thing.

When Mick got that close, I wanted to double the bet AGAINST him, but couldn’t find anyone interested. I was waiting all day for him to step in his dick – I had no doubt in Goose, seeing as he is a closer. All I kept thinking was that the adopted NY crowd would 1) shut the f*ck up and 2) magically transform into a Philly crowd, as that would be more apropos for Mickleson. Kane is a good analogy – forever a Jobber to the Stars. Besides, I can’t stand how f*cking happy and Guy Smiley Correct he is all the time…he needs a car crash or a miscarriage in his life.

Or a mammoth gambling loss, which, knowing Lefty, is always possible. It would have been really, really fun to see the crowd reaction if he’d started playing the back nine like, say, Norman’s fourth round at the ’96 Masters.

And now Goose has as many US Open victories as his compatriot Boring Ol’ Ernie. Goose gets absolutely no f*cking respect from anyone, especially the Sunday crowd at Shinnecock, who were so hoarse from cheering for Lefty only to watch him collapse like the rest of the field that they had nothing left to honor a very hard-fought victory. The guy came into the tournament ranked ninth in the world. Only eight guys in the goddamn world are better than he is at this game, people. There’s Tigger, who blew up with a 76 on Sunday and only got that because he finished eagle-birdie. Boring Ol’ Ernie’s next, and we already discussed his 80. Veej didn’t do very much better. Davis missed the cut. Lefty’s next on that list (choker). Weir started his Sunday with three straight bogeys (maybe CKOne had a point…oh, bullshit, I was right; the guy tied for fourth, and if that’s a slump, my name’s Sean Shannon). Harrington had a weekend-long freefall. Furyk’s coming off surgery, but still made the cut and had a decent tourney under the circumstances. That’s it. Those are all the people above the Goose on the rankings list. And the guy right behind Goose, Sergio, also had an 80 on Sunday.

Make no doubt about it – Goose WON, Mickleson didn’t lose. The only saving grace for Mick is his Green Jacket. Other than that he would have been skewered and grilled, rightfully so. I was shocked at Ernie’s collapse, but he was due. He just could never seem to get it together. Weir played great – Vijay didn’t. But if survival is what the USGA wanted, they got it – certainly makes for a lousy weekend of Golf watching, doesn’t it? I get no thrill watching great players play bad on trick courses. Carnoustie was survival – this was the USGA showing the asses like the low-class wannabes they are.

Goose won because he kept his cool. I was shocked that it took Lefty as long as it did for him to f*ck it all up. It was truly lousy to watch. Let’s compare it to Royal St. George’s last year. The course was tough but fair. It was just that nobody could make a move, and there were just enough screw-ups (like Thomas Bjorn’s adventures in the bunker) to allow Ben Curtis to take home the claret jug. The final round of the US Open was pure torture. The USGA must think it’s fun for the TV audience to watch the best in the world play like Sunday duffers. I’m sick and tired of their “let’s make the primary cut of rough five inches deep and make the fairways so narrow that you can piss from rough to rough” crap. It’s a major. It deserves a beautiful but fair test, not a torture session. That’s why the Players’ is slowly getting to be acknowledged as a fifth major. Sawgrass is that type of course.

Give the guy his propers. He survived the f*cking Bataan Death March on Saturday and Sunday and came away with the big one. Just because we only see him during majors and the biggest of events doesn’t mean that he isn’t there. He’s a great golfer who just happens to be saddled with a weird name because he’s Afrikaner, so we’re not going to embrace him. Embrace this, bitches: he pulled away a mil and a eighth on Sunday. That’s enough to earn even Fleabag’s respect.

You have to like him going into the British at Troon and also the PGA, which will be at Whistling Straits – rumor has it the PGA will be a tougher set up (counting wind) than the Open. Goose is proving unflappable, which is more than can be said for many other Champions. Although, you have to think that Tiger is going to win one soon…damn sure ain’t going to be Mickleson – up until this week, I thought he might change, but he looks to be a one hit wonder, but a lifetime player at Augusta. Guess that counts for something…

Goose moved up to 7th in the world rankings this week thanks to that victory (and Lefty moved up to 4th for his second-place finish). He’s in contention, definitely, but he tends to suck the gas pipe on the rota. It’s his one tourney where he just loses it. Anyone can be intimidated by the Open Championship. Look how long it took for Boring Ol’ Ernie, whose game is perfect for links golf, to win one. And considering the Open Championship history, Tigger’s an automatic pick. But Justin Leonard was the last guy to win at Royal Troon, and Tom Watson’s most dominant of his five victories was there. Goose seems like that type of player. So I wouldn’t be surprised if he took it. It’s doubtful we’ll get another Ben Curtis.


To Aussie Bureau Chief Brett Wortham and anyone else who asked about a free, good anti-virus program: AVG. Firewall-wise, I still use Sygate. Considering the incompatibilities between BitTorrent and ZoneAlarm’s latest version, it’d be a good idea to switch if you’re still using ZA (that answers your question also, Andy Richardson, because there are incompatibilities with the eDonkey network and ZA as well).

Andy also goes into something Michael Tabachnick asked. It’s KaZaA Lite for music, and eDonkey/eMule or BitTorrent for movies, TV shows and software (BitTorrent if they’re recent, eDonkey if they’re not). You can trust any version of KaZaA Lite up to 2.43; they’ll still get you on to FastTrack. Just do a Google search for “K++ 2.43” and you should be able to find someone mirroring it.

For a good eMule client, I recommend any Sivka mod. You can download modded eMules to your heart’s content at eMule Mods. For verified links for the eDonkey network, I recommend either ShareConnector or ShareLive.

The BitTorrent client I recommend is Azureus. The best general BitTorrent site is Suprnova; for TV shows, I recommend also going to TVTorrents (that answers your question, “Brian”), and for wrestling-related torrents, I recommend Israeli Hero’s Site.

I know, David Maughan, not much of a “quality” piracy column, but it’s enough to get people started.

Since I’m pushing up against our byte limit, I’m going to knock off for this week. No Smackdown Short Form; I’m leaving directly from work on Friday to get back to Lincoln to end this move once and for all. So, I’ll be back next Tuesday in Wrestling. Until then, I hope you enjoy yourselves a helluva lot more than I will.