Advice for my 1 year-old nephew

When someone says they are enjoying this “crisp” weather, all they mean is that it is really cold.

And they’re an asshole.

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That Italy-Japan game was a RIOT! (Get it?) (HIYO!!!)

Well, the match of the tourney (thus far) came yesterday, as Italy squeaked one out (not a farting term) versus Japan, winning 4-3. Obviously, any game that features goalz-r-good as its platform is going to be entertaining. But this little number was more than goalz-r-good; it was just… lovely. Japan came gunning straight from the opening whistle and rolled over Italy for the first thirty minutes, grabbing a two goal lead. Italy looked like a b-squad, while Japan the heavy favorites. But that just made Italy angry, as they rattled off the next three goals. Japan looked to be dead in the water, but managed to pull it even on a brilliant header off of a set piece. That, in turn, made Italy seem defeated (or drawed). Yet, all it took was a few perfect passes in the box for Sebastian Giovinco to slot home the game winner in the 86th minute. Japan almost evened it up again minutes later, when the ball hit the Italian post about half a dozen times on one play (or maybe it was twice). In the end destiny shined her headlights (read: knockers) on the Azzurri, because that is what happens in sports. Destiny.

Destiny also hates Mexico, as our neighbors to the south played a hell of a game against the Brasilian powerhouse, only to be undermined by two moments of absolute Neymar grace. They came at the beginning and the end of the game, creating a sort of Neymar sandwich with a sad Mexican filling (probably cheese-based). The first happened when Neymar was disappointed that his previous goal against Japan was only a half volley (letting the ball bounce before cracking it out of the air), and therefore one-upped himself with a full volley (cracking out of the air before it hits the ground). The second was Neymar making the Mexican defense look silly, dribbling the ball through two defenders (between the legs of one) on the touchline, before delivering a pass right to the foot of teammate Jo for an easy knock in. Brasil rejoiced. Mexico sobbed.

With those results, Italy and Brasil are now going through to the knockout stage of the tourney, making their Saturday matchup a little less sexy. However, expect both to bring it, as neither wants to face Spain in the next round (the likely outcome of a second place finish in the group).

Protest Update
Yeah, they are still going on. Or maybe this is a new Nike commercial?
Brasil jumping over fire

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Confederations Cup Day #3: Home of the Brave

Sorry that I am getting to this one late, as I am sure you all saw the “brave” 6-1 trashing Tahiti experienced at the hands of Nigeria. I get it ESPN, Tahiti v Nigeria is not a sexy match-up. Hell, Tahiti has no business even being in this tourney. That does not mean that we have to all sit around gush about how scoring own-goals somehow takes courage. The way ESPN is slinging the hyperbole, you would think that they expected Tahiti to run to the tunnel pissing themselves at the sound of the opening whistle. But no, “Instead, they tried to play.” Huh? It takes real guts to have an all expenses paid vacation to Brasil and play some football against players who, until now, you have only seen on TV. You see what I just wrote there? That is called a “fantasy camp” in the developed world. But yesterday, it was brave, courageous, heroic, and ESPN TV analysts and writers vomiting hyperbole all over your nice HD TVs, pads, and laptops.

"So, you don't like fancy new stadiums, eh?"

“So, you don’t like fancy new stadiums, eh?”

Meanwhile, Brasilian police continue to riddle their protesting citizens with rubber bullets and tears gas. The whining populace is still not getting over the fact that the government is flushing billions of dollars down the crapper on the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics. Boo-hoo. Quit your (tear-gas induced) crying, go back to your corrugated-steel shack, eat your cardboard stew, and get over yourself!

Today we get a break in action (well, at least on the field – in the streets, it will probably be another rough day on heavy underdog protesters as they take on the policia again), while teams rest up and hit the pitch tomorrow. Group A will be featured, as Brasil takes on Mexico and Italy battles Japan – with Brasil and Italy both being comfortable favorites. My money will be on Tahiti, those poor, brave bastards.

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Fancy Pants Tire Burners: the opening weekend of the Confederations Cup

The prime match-up of the Confederations Cup this weekend proved to be its best game. Italy v Mexico was a delightful romp. Italy played a refreshing brand of football, as the Azzurri pressed forward and looked for goals, much different (and attractive) than their normal concentration on defense. Mexico played nice on the eyeballs as well. Andrea Pirlo scored an absolute beaut on a set piece, bending the ball over the wall and into the net on a free kick that opened up the scoring. Mexico evened the score sheet through a penalty, with Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez taking the spot kick like the Fonz. Then when it looked like this one was destined for a draw, Mario Balotelli fought through the Mexican defense and poked home the game winner. He celebrated by taking off his shirt, showing the world that he has muscles and receiving the subsequent yellow card. Much like you cannot blame children for laughing, birds for singing, or Skoora the gentle shark for eating humans, you can hardly blame Balo for picking up a needless yellow. Its who he is. Its what he does.

In the opening game, Brasil thumped Japan, 3-0. Neymar wasted no time getting the host nation rolling, rifling a half-volley into the net in the third minute. In the last game of the weekend, Spain took care of Uruguay a little more comfortably than the 2-1 score line would suggest. Although it was not enough for victory, Luis Suarez had the goal of the match, a Pirlo-esque free kick that curled, bent, and whathaveyou’d into the net. It was rather fantastic that each of the three games had a world-class goal.

If you are SO poor, where did you get all of that stuff to burn? And what about that fancy stick?! Huh?!

If you are SO poor, where did you get all of that stuff to burn? And what about that fancy stick?! Huh?!

While the games were going on, there was unrest in the host nation. Protesters tried blocking access to the stadium on Saturday, burning tires and running amok. Word is that some citizens are none too happy that Brasil is dropping zillions of credits on stadiums while many of them are still dirt poor. Personally, I think it is quite refreshing that there are people raising hell at a soccer match and they actually have a reason behind it. I have to imagine that the police were all confused that there was some kind of message behind the rabble rousing. 

Now today comes the game we have all been waiting for: NIGERIA V TAHITI – ONLY ONE NATION WILL SURVIVE!!! (unless they tie) It will be fun to see if Tahiti even bothered splurging on jerseys and shoes for its players.

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The Confederations Cup: Come for the soccer, stay because you have been kidnapped.

Oh, hey there little blog. Are you still around? Well, there is an international soccer tournament about to go down. Let’s cover it. Yes, let’s.

“The mascot will play a key ambassadorial role in the next two years,” actually uttered by legendary Brasilian footballer Ronaldo (pictured).

“The mascot will play a key ambassadorial role in the next two years,” actually uttered by legendary Brasilian footballer Ronaldo (pictured) and laughed at by the  mascot itself.

For the unaware and homeless, the Confederations Cup is nothing more but a warm-up for the following year’s World Cup. Nations dump zillions of credits (I declare now to be the future! dolla’s are out, credits are in.) into building stadiums and coming up with ridiculous mascots for the WC, so they need to test them out and show them off. It is like a soft opening of a restaurant, but with oodles more diving. (To be clear, 1 oodle = 500 units [or credits]) For the Confed Cup (as the kids call it), this consists of taking eight of the most available and willing teams, splitting them into two groups, and getting all soccer on us. Its fun! And you can bet and drink to it! Fun + betting + drinking = ecstasy! Hell, throw in some fish tacos and dick jokes, and you have the perfect sporting event. Fuck it, I AM throwing in fish tacos and dick jokes into the fold! And doing ecstasy! POOF!!!

Group A
This is the much tastier, finely-tuned, fish taco of the two groups. The Confed Cup, and subsequent World Cup, are going down in Brasil. Home turf and being a perennial powerhouse net Brasil the “favorite” label. Yet, Brasil is not fielding the strongest of teams this go-around, as they have ditched many of the older stars (Kaka, Ronaldinho, Edmundo, Cafu) in favor of their young, not completely proven talent. Still, expect Brasil to sign on the line that is dotted and score goals. No Brasil team ever met forward charge (or dotted line) they did not like.

Mario being Mario

Mario being Mario

The other major power in Group A is Italy. The Italians are utmost professionals at international tournaments. They have hiccups every now and then (ahem, WC ’10), but they are also capable of putting together squads that people underestimate, only watch the Italians kick their dicks in the dirt (Euro ’12). What I am trying to say is that they are pros at kicking dicks in the dirt, and kicking dicks in the dirt business is good. (What the hell just happened there? It is like my Delete button is broken.) Plus, the Azzurri boast the most entertaining man in sports, Mario Balotelli. As insane as he is talented and ripped, Balo will do something worth watching. Whether that something benefits his team is a complete coin-flip.

The other two teams in Group A are Mexico and Japan. Mexico is a talented bunch that have been playing some horrible football lately, ignoring simple things that you learn in kittygarden, i.e. teamwork. Japan boasts some of the better fans in the game, but they will be much out-gunned by their group peers.

Group B
This group features more dick jokes than fish tacos. Spain are the reigning champs of everything and are favorites to meet Brasil in the final. Personally, their style of short passing a team to death (a la Barcelona) has become boring to watch. They are like the Wes Anderson of football, at first they were fun and exciting, but now their style has worn thin.

The rest of the group is a mess. Nigeria’s team almost did not get on the bus (or whatever they use to get across the Atlantic) because of pay issues. And African teams are usually about as volatile as their governments (read: VERY). Uruguay enjoyed success at South America’s last tournament, but have largely been a mess since then. And then there is little Montenegro Tahiti. The minuscule island nation won a spelling bee and sent a team that can proudly boast one (1) full-time professional soccer player. It should be… something watching them play against Spain. Poor bastards. On the plus side, they are nicknamed “The Steel Warriors”.

Where Judas’ 30 silver piece shall be bet
Nigeria to win it all: 33-1. I love African teams for the very reason stated above, and Nigeria is my favorite among them. They are often filled with unrefined talent and athleticism.
Balo for lead socrer: 16-1. You would be foolish to throw your money anywhere other than at the world’s most entertaining athlete. At the same time, this is a sucker bet, as the odds are very high that he will be suspended at least one of the matches for lighting a Japanese player on fire.
Mexico to win versus Italy: +220. I have no reason for this bet other than I love betting on soccer (and I am terrible at it).

I will be following and posting about this tourney periodically, so stop on by and cop a squat. (Do people still say that? Have people ever said that? Was that a thing?) Until then, go suck an egg!

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Brooklyn Nets 76 – Chicago Bulls 79

Now look, I feed you D Rose, but let me do it my way. Just give me an unmarked and a shotgun.

Drink:  Vina Alicia Malbec

I went into game 3 hotly anticipating a contest where we finally wouldn’t have to hear the Crooklyn fans chant “Brooooook-lyyyyyn” in a way that is usually reserved for mocking a struggling goaltender in hockey.  Maybe the chant is just hipster irony from the Wicker Park of New York.  There was speculation from fringe lunatics like Carmen DeFalco of ESPN Chicago, that one Derrick Martell Rose would return.  But once again, God told D Rose to wear a blazer instead.  D Rose, God and Dante Ross all get the gas face.  No gas face for Jo Noah and Joe Johnson who each played with ailing feet.

Nets stars from left to right: Brook Lopez, Gerald Wallace, Deron Williams.

Momentum once again would not carry over from the previous tilt.  The well organized Bulls of game 2 were no where to be found early, with 5 turnovers in the first…like, 40 seconds?  The Nets were nowhere near as soft as they were on Monday.  Reggie Evans remembered that he has muscles that can be used in sporting events.  It looked very game 1-ish.  Per usual, the Bulls didn’t get going until Nazr Muhammed entered the game?  Old man winter resembled a 35 year-old Antonio McDyess.  He even jumped with BOTH FEET to rip down a rebound like he was a stuntman or something.  Lou was aggressive and level headed throughout the quarter, leading the lads to a 2 point lead after one frame.

Taj Gibson loaded a dunk over the former Mr. Kardashian in the 2nd quarter that prompted Stacy King to blubber some catch phrase about myface friend requesting.  For someone paid money to explain basketball plays to speak like such an imbecile, highlights how emphatic the dunk was.

For all the grief Carlos Boozer has received from myself and anyone who expects power forwards to possess power, Booze has been a manimal in the series.  He’s boarding up strong and using crafty body positioning near the hoop.  He’s been great this season, but he’s finally hulking out in the post season.  He and Capn’ Kirk helped fuel the 7 point lead the Bulls enjoyed at the half.

In the 3rd, Deng put on a pull-back jumper clinic, featuring a shake-off of Gerald Wallace that made Byron Russell shiver in whatever trailer park Russell crashes at these days.  Deron Williams woke up late in the 3rd as the only Nets offensive option.  The Bulls D stifled Crooklyn otherwise.  Nataniel Cornelius Robinson dropped a vintage Nate jumper at the end of the quarter in route to a 13 point lead for our boys.

The 4th started looking like a victory lap, but then the Bulls ran a series of plays that resembled the ending credits of Benny Hill.   Brook Lopez scored a bunch and the Nets suddenly found themselves in the game.  The game stayed at 77-72 Bulls for more possessions than we should ever see in the NBA play-offs.  Booze got his shot blocked a couple times, Noah’s plantar fasciitis seemed to spread to his hands as he could not hold onto the ball.  The Nets had the ball down 3 at the end of the game, but CJ Watson air-balled a last second 3 to hand his old team a 2-1 series lead.

This game had no alibi.  It was ugly.  Neither team shot over 40%. The Nets were 1-26 at one point from the floor.  There were times when my only joy was the Dikembe commercial, then the stupid game would come back on.

Brook Lopez goes quarters at a time where he forgets that he has a Darwinian advantage over every other player on the court.  If the Nets ever get back to that Williams-Lopez one-two game, the Bulls could be in trouble.  For now, let’s enjoy the win and hope that Detective Gino Felino can score that unmarked and “coax” D Rose to come along peacefully.

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Game #76: Chicago Bulls 85 – Detroit Pistons 99

Drink Fernet Branca

Find me the neatest pole!

Find me the neatest pole!

I, Judas Pato, your dear friend and Bulls blogger extraordinaire, have been on a little hiatus lately. You see, I picked up a second job because I love spending money and I am exceptionally talented in that art. Ergo, the second job has kept me from watching and reviewing Bulls games. Yet, my inability to to do so is inversely related to how close I am to getting a retardedly fast car that I will promptly wrap around a pole. So there is that. And that makes me happy. Much happier than watching some terrible Bulls efforts. Take today’s contest for example. (No, please, take it! HIYO!!!) The Bulls entered this battle against their Central Conference rivals with a run of like a zillion wins against the Pistons. But all good things must come to end. Much like the Crusades, Standard Oil’s grip on the petroleum industry, and my innocence, the Bulls streak against the Pistons ended. It happened with something more akin to interpretive art than basketball, but it happened all the same. I planned on writing a review about it all. It was going to be something. I was going to include dinosaurs, robots, cattle, Rubik’s cubes, and ad hoc arguments in it. Also, it was going to be typed out in a fashion that was going to resemble Iron Maiden’s third album. But it was not to be, as the Bulls laid a turd on the court. Plus Vlad Rad played over 15 minutes – and no man or woman should have to blog about a game where that happens. And being a weaker individual than I once was, has me tired and defeated. So I will just leave you, the little people of the burden, with the knowledge that it was a poor night for your Chicago Bulls, and leave it at that. I think I am going to smoke a cigar now. Ciao.

UPDATEVILLE I smoked two cigars.

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