Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Obscure soccer club of the week (April 27 - May 3, 2009)

Big Bullets of Blantyre, Malawi.

Unlike Presidente Hayes, Big Bullets are actually somewhat successful having won the Malawi Super League eleven times, the previous national championship eleven times, the Press Cup eleven times (this is becoming a theme), the Chibuku Cup eight times, the Kamuzu Cup seven times, and the Blantyre district title nine times before that.

*deep breath* Gosh they have a lot of cups in Malawi.

Big Bullets could be compared to Liverpool FC owing to being created out of it's rival club, Wanderers, in a similar fashion to the manner Liverpool was created out of Everton and like Liverpool, Big Bullets have been the more successful of the two.

The team's name has changed many times through-out it's history due to sponsorships having been called Bata Bullets (after a shoe company), Bakili Bullets (after owner Bakili Muluzi, who was actually the President of Malawi at the time and is a rather scrupulous character), and hilariously Total Big Bullets (after an oil company).

Though they regularly compete in African competitions they've yet to taste any real success on the continent as the standard of football in Malawi is not what it is elsewhere.

David Poole 1959-2009

David Poole of the Charlotte Observer died of a heart attack yesterday, he was 50.

Poole was officially the Observer's NASCAR writer, which is a big job to have in Charlotte, but he was more than that. I'm not a big NASCAR fan but Poole's columns were powerful and insightful. Poole would give you his thoughts on the state of racing and back it up with facts, I didn't always agree with him but I had respect for him.

With North Carolina's changing demographics came many people who were skeptical and sometimes even hostile to it's culture, a culture of which stock car racing is a huge part. Many of these critics would rag stock car racing having never actually watched, let alone attended, a stock car race. Poole took these people to task and did it in such a fashion that no one could dare say he was wrong.

He was simply a giant in Charlotte journalism, not just Charlotte sports journalism. Poole played a role in helping Charlotte land the coveted NASCAR Hall of Fame and when it opens, he'd better be in it.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Bobby's addiction

I'm addicted to Jane. I am, I really am.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Potential Carolina World Cup venues

Soccer by Ives has a list of fifty-eight potential US World Cup venues (down from seventy), three are located in the Carolinas: Charlotte, Clemson and Columbia.

While I admit none of them are likely to host matches, Charlotte does have a chance and it's nice to see Clemson and Columbia showing an interest. South Carolina is frozen out from hosting NCAA events due to the whole flag row, and doesn't have an NFL team so the Super Bowl is highly unlikely meaning this could be their only chance for major sporting exposure.

However, FIFA's regulations require certain things that Williams-Brice Stadium and Memorial Stadium don't live up to at the moment and it would require significant work to bring them up to snuff.

With that said, I'm disappointed that the USSF didn't contact Chapel Hill or Raleigh.

The Game Boy is 20

Well, it turned twenty yesterday but that was Earth Day so I didn't realize it.

I didn't get a Game Boy until 1995 when the Play It Loud models were released, I got a red one for Christmas and it's still in working order today. Nintendium is crazy tough.

The Game Boy is easily the best handheld ever released. It paved the way for the handhelds of the future and outlasted many of them because of it's simplicity. Rather than trying to blow you away the Game Boy simply played it's games and did so with reasonable battery life unlike it's competitors (battery issues killed Sega's Game Gear).

I'm not much of a geek so I can't sit here and discuss technical aspects, so I'll just link the Cnet article.

I do love my Game Boy though.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Obscure soccer club of the week (April 20-26, 2009)

Club Presidente Hayes of Asunción, Paraguay.

The club is named for Rutherford B. Hayes, the 19th President of the United States.

"Why Hayes?", you ask. Most Americans would never even consider Hayes when listing their top-10 US Presidents, in fact, aside from possibly his own decedents, he'd be lucky to make anyone's list. But alas, Hayes is revered as somewhat of a hero in Paraguay. Hayes made news in recent times following the 2000 election in which George Bush lost the popular vote to Al Gore yet won the Presidency. Similarly Hayes lost the 1876 popular vote to Samuel Tilden but was elected by virtue of the Electoral College and an Electoral Commission.

On this day last year Jenny Drapkin wrote an article at MentalFloss called "Rutherford B. Hayes: The National Hero of … Paraguay?" detailing just why Hayes is held so highly in Paraguay.

During the War of the Triple Alliance, Paraguay was heavily defeated by Argentina, Brazil, AND Uruguay (well, that hardly seems fair at all) during the war two-thirds of the Paraguayan people lost their lives.

After the war Argentina and Paraguay continued to fight over an area called the Chaco and traveled to Washington where, you guessed it, President Hayes acted as arbitrator. Hayes decided in favor of Paraguay became a hero to it's people.

With that said, while most school children in Paraguay are aware that Hayes was once a US President, many aren't aware of what he did.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Monday, April 13, 2009

Tyler Stasko

...is a murdering little snot.

Last week 20-year-old Tyler and a 49-year-old woman named Carlene Carol Atkinson (what a mature adult she is) decided it would be a peachy idea to engage in a bit of the old street racing on NC 49. You know, that thing young men with high powered cars unsure of their own masculinity do to make themselves feel more manly (and I say this as an insanely androgynous human being), or in the case of Atkinson, simply because she's an incredible shithead.

Oh, and they killed somebody. Three people in fact. 45-year-old Cindy Furr, a professor at Winthrop, Cindy's 2-year-old daughter (TWO!) McAllister (or "Mackie") who were traveling along the public road in their own car, and a 13-year-old passenger in Stasko's car named Hunter.

Three incredibly senseless deaths. Three incredibly unfortunate deaths. Mackie and Hunter were young children yet to reach the primes of thier lives, indeed Mackie was barely of walking age, and Cindy Furr was a long time educator helping to better the lives of young people everyday. And now they're gone. And for what?

I never understood the appeal of street racing, never. And it becomes even more mind-boggling when you consider we live in fucking Charlotte. We have no shortage of racing facilities for these idiots (in fact, North Carolina has a race track in every county, including Mecklenburg!). Yet they insist, they have to show the world how cool they are. It's not cool, it's stupid. Sadly, being stupid isn't a crime. You know what basketball and soccer wash outs do? They play in parks. You are not Jeff Gordon, if you were any good at it you'd be in NASCAR or F1. Stop.

No, being 20 isn't an excuse. He knew better. 20-year-olds are not children, they're grown adults. You can sign up for military service at 17, and by 16 most functional human beings have an idea of how the world operates.

Murder is the correct charge. A car, a two-ton piece of steel, is a deadly weapon when placed in the hands of an idiot. It's like shooting for birds in a Harris Teeter parking lot and then claiming you didn't understand the risk when you kill somebody. Like firearms, cars must be used responsibly.

He should be tried for looking like a douchebag anyway. What a prince *rolls eyes*.

I should use my blog more

I should, but for some reason I don't.

It's not for a lack of writing. I tweet pretty commonly, I keep a written diary which for some reason I've taken to writing in blank verse (maybe it's this whole Elizabeth Barrett Browning clip I'm on), I keep another blog, send out several e-mails (my e-mails average 500 words, apparently) and maintain Jane's fan network.

I just forget to write here. Not that anyone cares, heh. Something always comes betwixt me and updating. For some reason I used to get a lot of hits from Beverly Hills, California and Odessa, Ukraine though...I always found that interesting.

Alas, I shall try. You could also check out MJ's site, she's a smart girl (and a new twitter mate of mine :)....).

Friday, April 3, 2009

Time Warner wants to kick you in the face.

Thankfully, I don't use them. They lost me ages ago, but that doesn't mean I'm not allowed to hate them and their habit of kicking people when they're down.

Recently Time Warner announced it's plan to introduce a "tiered" pricing system for it's broadband users, meaning the company is going to raise it's customer's prices again. This is something Time Warner customers are more than used to, the company does it regularly (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, ect.) and obviously has no plans to stop. Unfortunately for some people in Charlotte-proper Time Warner is the only pay-TV option they have (they can't get a clear shot at a satellite). Though for internet many opt for AT&T (frm. BellSouth) which provides a better, but by no means ideal, option. AT&T is also looking into a new pricing system, which would further screw the general public.

This news comes on the heels of a Charlotte Observer report which referred to Metrolina's jobless rates as "sobering". 11% of Mecklenburger's are out of work and Mecklenburg is the healthiest county in the region. It is today, at a time when more and more Charlotteans need the internet for work, that Time Warner chooses to kick them. This also comes nearly immediately after a spat between Time Warner and local television station WSOC over a fee WSOC charged Time Warner to carry the channel and is sister WAXN. Of course Time Warner trotted out their old stand-by "In doing this WSOC wants to force us to charge our customers more for our service". Of course, Time Warner lied (*shock horror*) and WSOC wasn't asking "five times more" than other local stations. Eventually the two sides reached a deal.

Of course some people will say "you've pointed out TV prices, not internet prices", and you'd be right, but it makes no difference, it's still an example of Time Warner using it's power to screw it's customers to make up for their disastrously misguided investments. In fact, the average family can expect to spend $200 (two zeros) per month on Time Warner's internet service under their new plan. $200 in a region crippled by job loss and pay cuts.

There are obviously alternatives. For those who can get them Dish Network isn't a badly priced option for television and the picture is quite good. AT&T (unless they go down this road) for the internet. Sadly Time Warner is treated very well by Charlotte, but you can stop that by sending your dollars elsewhere.

You can also contact the following people and voice displeasure with Time Warner's nice treatment from a city it spits on:
Pat McCrory (Charlotte Mayor)
Bev Perdue (North Carolina Governor)
Anthony Foxx (Charlotte City Council and candidate for Mayor)
John Lassiter (Charlotte City Council and candidate for Mayor)
Kay Hagan (US Senate)
Richard Burr (US Senate)
Mel Watt (US Congress)
Larry Kissel (US Congress)
Sue Myrick (US Congress)
Susan Burgess (Charlotte City Council and Mayor Pro Tempore)
Patsy Kinsey (Charlotte City Council)
Edwin Peacock (Charlotte City Council)
James Mitchell, Jr. (Charlotte City Council)
Warren Turner (Charlotte City Council)
Michael Barnes (Charlotte City Council)
Nancy Carter (Charlotte City Council)
Andy Dulin (Charlotte City Council)
Warren Cooksey (Charlotte City Council)
Jennifer Roberts (Chairperson, Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners)
Harold Cogdell, Jr. (Vice-Chairperson, Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners)
Vilma Leake (Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners)
Dan Murrey (Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners)
Karen Bentley (Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners)
George Dunlap (Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners)
Dumont Clarke (Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners)
Bill James (Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners) *cough*
Neil Cooksey (Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners)