Friday, July 16, 2010

Look out, everybody, it's another surfin' daawwwwwwwwwwwwwg

We hop skippity on the flip flop dippity, Torn Slatterns and Nugget Ranchers

A new law allows guns in Louisiana churches. Parishioners have already begun to wear WWJP bracelets, What Would Jesus Pack?

Last week in Vienna, we traded ten Russian spies for four of our spies. And I’m not so sure of the quality of the spies we got in return. One of them only has a license to bitch.

Last week in Vienna, we traded ten Russian spies for just four of our spies. The news of this six- spy discrepancy left me shaken, but not stirred.

Spain beat the Netherlands 1-0 to win the World Cup. In Barcelona people grabbed and kissed strangers, chugged wine, women tore off their clothes and danced naked. When asked how long they plan to celebrate the World Cup win, they said; “What World Cup win?”

Country singer Carrie Underwood married hockey player Mike Fisher. You know who will really benefit from the union of country music fans and hockey fans? Dentists.

Last week in Vienna, we traded ten Russian spies for just four of our spies. It goes to show you we still have spies and they could be anyone. Isn’t that right, red lion nine, red lion nine? The long shark swims far from shore, proceed with necessary force, over.

Many of the countries who had a great World Cup were from smaller countries, like semi-finalist Uruguay whose population is the same as San Diego. It just goes to show, in soccer, it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s whether the dog can fake an injury, flop and play dead.

BP is reporting it has finally put the cap on the oil spill. About time, even FEMA is saying; “Dudes, what took so long?”

I miss the World Cup so much, I decided to hang out at the pier and watch the fisherman haul in their fish just so I could see something flop.

Last week in Vienna, we traded ten Russian spies for four of our spies. And I’m not so sure of the quality of the spies we got in return. One of the male spies has the codename: Lady Gaga.

Last week in Vienna, we traded ten Russian spies for four of our spies. And I’m not so sure of the quality of the spies we got in return. One of them has a bad case of athlete’s ear from talking into his shoe.

A man in Boston was arrested after breaking into an ATM and then getting stuck. Apparently he forgot his PIN-code was: dumbass.

Sadly, New York Yankee owner, George Steinbrenner, died at 80 of a heart attack. This came as a shock to many. Steinbrenner had a heart?

Since you asked:

It doesn’t happen often enough, but it is wonderful when it does. You know that feeling when you feel great, you’re smiling, and suddenly it seems like you are in one big, sappy soft drink commercial, or, god forbid, a Disney sitcom?

For some people this feeling happens all the time, I suspect Barack Obama and Matthew McConaughey are guilty of that, for others it has never come.

The first time it happened to me, I was walking down the main hall of my high school. It was spring of my junior year, finals were just over, I had a great football and track season, a brief series of cute girlfriends and I was on my way to California to compete in the Junior National Decathlon.

There was a song in my heart and a bounce in my step as I high-fived strangers, waved at friends, whistled a tune and even danced a wee jig.

Later that feeling didn’t come again until I was at UC Santa Barbara, but then it came all the time. By my senior year I was in track, rush chairman of the top fraternity, waiting tables at a popular restaurant, a big brother at the hottest sorority and going to great classes finishing up my communications degree. Every stroll through campus felt like it was to the vapid 80’s song “Walking on Sunshine.”

Then when I moved to New York, it took a while to get my bearings, but once I did, I would stroll through SOHO and Little Italy listening to Dire Straits “Wild West End” on my (about to date myself) Walkman and window shopping on a crisp Fall day.

Now after a great session of Stand Up Paddle surfing at Torrey Pines or La Jolla Shores, or after a great workout, as I am pouring a nice drink and getting ready to grill for good friends at sunset, that same feeling comes coursing through my veins when the music from my outdoor speakers pumps out Stones, Clapton, Petty , Bruce or Zep.

You know that amazing, naturally buzzed, glad-to-be-alive, lighter-than-air, eating-an-apple-while-skipping, start-of-the-Stones' "Tumbling Dice", happy-go-lucky feeling?

Yesterday I didn’t feel one f*cking thing like that.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Why will I forever love Groundskeeper Willy? He will always be despised by the French for calling them "Cheese-eating surrender monkeys."

Lex's thoughts for the day:

The difference between men's soccer and women's soccer? No crying, flopping and whining in women's soccer. And less hair bands.

If loneliness and failure had a smell? It would be body odor lingering with cigarette smoke in a taxicab.

What's the difference between a vampire and a vuvuzela? One sucks, the other one really sucks.

Exactly when did every woman under the age of 25 turn into a beta version of the Kardashians?

Do dyslexics with tourettes shout out futhermocker?

Since you asked:

The Groundskeeper Willy xenophobic crack reminds me of a few years ago when my daughter Ann Caroline and her great friend, Hannah - like A.C., also a born crack up - were going to French camp in La Jolla. (Yes, I will give my regular a.L.B.b. readers a chance to double-check if they are on the right blog)

My opinion of the French camp? The French head instructor was one of the friendliest, warmest, nicest, sweet and kindest young guys you'll ever meet. OK, maybe a little dorky. But one of the French female instructors was in all candor one of the most strikingly beautiful, sexy, intriguing-looking women I have seen either in real life, print, TV or movies. And I met Kathy Ireland in 1984. This French woman made Carla Bruni in her prime look like Charles Bronson.

So to say I was favorably impressed and pleasantly surprised by the La Jolla French camp French instructors is an understatement.

One day I was shuttling the girls to camp and they mentioned, without any trace of judgment in their tone, that they had many actual French children attending the camp with them.

"Are the French children nice to you?" I asked without intending to lead the witnesses. Both girls cracked up and in unison said:

"Oh no, they're not nice at all."

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Great Sam Adams, 1931- 2010
U.C.S.B. A slice of heaven made even more heavenly by the class and style and dignity of one Sam Adams.

One of the great surprises to me in reading about the passing of two great coaches, UCLA’s John Wooden and San Diego State and Charger’s Don Coryell, is finding out how wrong I was about them.

Watching Wooden and Coryell while growing up in Chicago, I assumed that, because their teams were so flashy, stylish and exciting, and the fact they lived in Southern California, I assumed Coryell and Wooden had to be flashy Hollywood types themselves.

Yeah, I know. Assume? Make an ass of u and me.

It was my pleasure to have met Don Coryell and, although it was briefly, I could tell how kind and down-to-earth he was. Far more so than the players he made legendary. Although he was born and raised in the state of Washington, Coryell was the epitome of a Midwesterner: loyal, modest, honest, unpretentious. The fond stories of Coryell paint a picture of a man, although undeniably brilliant and an offense/passing visionary, who was also a loveably absent-minded professor.

And John Wooden was the very embodiment of the old-fashioned Midwesterner that he was. Again, I only attended a speech given by Wooden and shook his hand, but I was surprised at how humble and deeply religious he was. He struck me as the loveable, corny grandfather he was. His bromides seem so corny when you heard them, but they burrowed into your brain like a boll weevil:

Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.

Do not let what you can’t do interfere with what you can do.

If you don’t have the time to do it right, when will you have the time to do it over?

Personally, I was lucky enough to have a coach in college who could change your entire life for the better, like Coryell and Wooden. The late, great UC Santa Barbara track coach, Sam Adams, also had life-affirming messages:

Practice doesn’t make perfect, practice makes permanent.

Like Coryell and Wooden, Sam Adams outstanding character is what made him such a great coach. He genuinely treated everyone exactly the same: perfectly.

Every now and then some egomaniac world-class decathlete or celebrity would blow on to the track expecting Sam to cater to him and coddle him. It didn’t take long for them to figure out Sam wasn’t having any of that.

As a coach, Sam took great athletes and made them the best in the world, Bill Toomey and Jane Fredericks, but he also took mediocre athletes and made them very good. Sure, Sam coached Olympic gold medalists, but you didn't have to be around him long to realize Sam took just as much pride in coaching a 5,000 point decathlete into a 7,000 point decathlete.

Sam Adams was chosen to be the man in charge of running the entire decathlon at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. As mind-boggling as that responsibility was, he still took the time to run over to talk after I, a mere spectator, waved at him.

Sam was also far, far ahead of the curve when it came to plyometric and core training; he had us run on the beach, run downhill, use our body weight in addition to lifting weights, and most important, Sam always remembered to make training fun. Although a strict and demanding coach, Sam also loved throwing beach barbeques. After meets we'd have potluck picnics and talent contests on our beloved ethereal, eucalyptus-lined UCSB track at sunset.

Although a serious and stoic man, some of the fondest memories of my life are when Sam tried, in vain, to stifle a laugh from one of my horribly inappropriate, god-awful and smart-ass jokes. Honesty, however, compels me to admit the more typical reaction by Sam to my jokes was to close his eyes, bow his head, hold the bridge of his nose, slowly shake his head and sigh deeply. So very, very deeply.

But you didn’t mess with Sam. No sir. Sam had a strict rule about joggers staying to the outside lane. Once some snotty and self-important professor started jogging on the inside lane. When we, the decathletes and heptathletes, tried to warn him, the too-neatly trimmed bearded professor angrily and loudly demanded to know who we thought we were telling him, a professor, what to do?

Sam arrived on the track and firmly commanded the offending professor:

“Move to the outside, now.”

You've never seen a dork move so fast to get to the outside lane nine. You could almost see the cartoon-smoke shoot out from his feet to the sound of a rickashay'd bullet. We all roared with laughter and joy at the sight of the pompous schmuck getting put in his place by, as we lovingly called Sam, The Rock.

Far more so than E.F. Hutton, when Sam Adams spoke, people listened.

No doubt about it, success in sports is great, but it pales in comparison to the honor and experience of being coached by a great coach who is an even greater person. And I know the difference. In high school, I had a football coach who was the opposite of Sam: despicable, stupid and sadistic. My time with Sam cured all the scars caused by my high school coach.

In my book, I put Sam Adams up there with Don Coryell and John Wooden. And that is saying something. Not for Sam, it is saying something for Coryell and Wooden. When it comes to great coaches who were greater human beings, Sam Adams was second to nobody.

Sadly, I don’t think they are making them like that anymore.

Monday, July 12, 2010

The third album cover for my band The Snoring Puppies

Guess who is a big World Cup fan? Osama bin Laden. Well, this is just the thing to sway American sports fans who were on the fence about liking soccer.

It has been a tough time for Cleveland sports fans, first the Cleveland Browns left for Baltimore, then LeBron James leaves for Miami, and, worst of all, the Cleveland Indians won’t go anywhere.

In Atlanta, a US Airways flight was diverted back to the gate when maggots fell down on passengers from an overhead compartment; the airline had no choice but to charge the passengers a $50 Pest Extermination fee.

In an embarrassing display of vanity and egomania, LeBron James televised his decision to dump his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers to play for the Miami Heat. For Cleveland fans it was like a reality show filming your prom date leaving with the homecoming king.

Rumor has it Lance Armstrong’s Tour De France sponsor, Radio Shack, is running out of funds. Insiders say in order to keep Lance on the Tour, Radio Shack will have to sell a lot more phone modems, fax machines and hand-held calculators.

LeBron James televised his decision to dump his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers to play for the Miami Heat. It was the most shameful display of egomania and vanity since Rod Blagojevich pitched a reality show for his hair.

Listening to the World Cup English announcers drove home the expression we really are two people separated by a common language.

We call it a field, they call it a pitch.

We call it zero, they call it nil.

We call them soccer shoes, they call them boots.

We call them cleats, they call it studs.

We call it soccer, they call it football

We get in a line, they get in a que

We call it a uniform, they call it a kit

We call it angry, the call it agro.

We call it tired, they call it a spot of bother or knackered.

We say we like something, they fancy it.

We say: “There you go” they say “Bob’s your Uncle.”

Sunday, July 11, 2010

And the winner of the Bradley Cooper look-alike contest is? Diego Furlan.

Let’s play a new game we at a.L.b.b. like to call:

Lex’s so-called expert World Cup analysis:

The final game of a great World Cup sucked.

The refs tried to make it a good game, but the Netherlands had decided to go dirty early. As I have learned from my daughter’s games with a horribly dirty club called Knotts, inferior teams can equalize the game by playing dirty. The more talented teams cannot get combinations going and it brings in much more of the element of luck. Especially if the refs are crooked, as they are at Knotts.

Netherlands came out fouling and the refs tried to shut them down. But then when the Spanish started to see the yellow cards flying, they started flopping and the game got out of the referees control. The 2010 World Cup, sadly, will mostly be remembered for bad officiating. The last game wasn’t bad officiating, but the lack of consistency - sometimes letting them play, sometimes issuing yellows on what were merely flops - added to the ugliness of the already ugly play.

Spain really had no choice but to respond to the dirty play of the Netherlands with flopping. My daughter’s team never flops and when they play Knotts against refs who don’t call anything, the play gets nastier and uglier and three times we had a player get hurt.

In the WC final, the best team, Spain, prevailed, but not by much. This game was so bad it actually deserved to go to penalty kicks. Penalty kicks would have brought an element of class and excitement to generally sloppy and classless play. Floppy and sloppy on the part of the usually pretty and perfect Spain, classless on the part of the Netherlands.

The De Jong character for the Dutch would have gone to jail if his karate kick to the chest happened anyplace but on a soccer field. He should have been kicked out with a red card.

In the end I was far happier to see the Netherlands lose than I was to see Spain win. And I really wanted Spain to win, that’s how classless I thought the Netherlands team was. With an astonishing one billion people watching, the Dutch threw the possibi
lity of a beautifully played World Cup final down the toilet by electing to thug it out.

My favorite player, Uruguay's Diego Furlan, won the Golden Ball as the best player in the World Cup. It was a big day for Furlan, he also won the "The Hangover" star Bradley Cooper look-alike contest.

Ke Nako, Espana

Here is your assignment. Have a few adult beverages of you choice and really listen to the drums on Led Zeppelin's "Good Times, Bad Times." And I mean really listen. After stand up paddle surfing with the dolphins at Torrey Pines, I did that with the aid of a few red wines after grilling an amazing rib eye.

That right there will set you free, Slattaurases and Nuggasoraurasai.