Sunday, August 19, 2007

Tomorrow : Manchester City v. Manchester United; Today, Mark E. Smith.

I support the Philadelphia Phillies, baseball's, America's, and finally sports' all-time losingest team. I chose them as a secondary baseball outlet after the winningest, my hometown New York Yankees. Rooting needs balance, and the Phillies need help. They're often on tv against the Mets, whom I naturally dislike. Perhaps one of these years they'll make the playoffs.

It was only in the last year that I began to follow international soccer beyond the too-rare World Cup. I've been able to get the English Premier League through Fox Soccer Channel, and naturally the time came to pick an English side to get behind. The 'big four', Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, and Liverpool did not interest me, because they could not offer anything in star power, tradition, or economic might to rival the Yankees, broadcast every night through the sycophantic trumpets of John Sterling, Michael Kay or Susyn Waldman. Nor was I inspired by the mid-table Cleveland-like Tottenham, Newcastle, or Everton, teams that would always be slightly short of major success.

It was Manchester City that I chose to support, for several reasons, one Elvis-related, but mostly because of a Phillies parallel. I'm a Yankee fan; I don't need to watch other teams to expect success. Manchester City is the second team of a huge, post-industrial wasteland. They're known for continued failure. Last year I watched them stumble toward a mark in line with the Phillies' quest for 10,000 losses - setting a new Premiership anti-record by scoring a pathetic 10 goals in 19 home games.

Manchester is known for two things - Manchester United and Joy Division. There's just no room for Manchester City or Mark E. Smith in that sentence. That analogy has to end right there, of course, for were they to have brawled in their late 70s heydays, Smith would have mauled Curtis and possibly eaten him or strung him up in his own house and left him for his wife to find.

Oh my god, Mark E. Smith killed Ian Curtis.

Tomorrow, the two teams play. It is perhaps City's best chance in years (they haven't done well in this one) against their rivals. United is stumbling and without their two best scorers, Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo. They still have Carlos Tevez (actual picture!) to growl at City's new signings. But the team that plays in light blue while fans belt out Rogers and Hart can take comfort in Mark E. Smith, who is somehow still alive.

Mark E. Smith barges in through the door of Ian Curtis's Manchester home. The family is out; too bad. Curtis takes a punch to the face and goes down, prompting a fit of vicious kicks from Smith. Curtis regains consciousness and finds himself tied to a chair in his own living room. He is forced to watch Strozek and then to listen to Iggy Pop. Ian is groggy, but he can still speak as Smith ties a stout rope securely around his neck.

What did Ian Curtis say, hanging there in his own house, knowing full well he was about to die? Only Mark E. Smith knows for sure.

Labels: , , , , ,

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Guest Post by Journ Sella

Recently, my friends and I began a mission to watch many of the action movie franchises we otherwise might not touch. It was probably brought on by the recent release of the too-perfect Get Rich or Die Hard Tryin'. We caught up with John McClane quickly, despite the stumbling block that is Die Harder. Next we moved on to the Alien series, which meant that the Predator movies must follow, so that we could see Alien vs. Predator in time to catch Aliens vs. Predator. We haven't gotten around to this epic battle, however, because of one major interruption:
Barry "Buy War" Bonds is on the verge of beating some kind of record, currently held by Hank Aaron. As a result, every game in which he plays is televised, so that no one will miss the stunning moment when he hits that ball over the fence (do they still use fences? or is it walls now?) and jogs around the bases, exciting and disappointing the entire audience. My friends watch this every single night, bathing in anticipation and rage. Hence, no Aliens vs. Predator.
The problem here, though, is that no one wants to see Barry Bonds accomplish this. Hank Aaron was apparently a swell guy, excellent player, longtime humanitarian, cookbook author, and real gentleman. Barry Bonds, on the other hand, is suspected not only of taking steroids, but also feeding them to the children of other players and blackmailing these players into throwing games so that Bonds' team (whom does he play for? the Giants, right?) may clobber all opposition as though instead of baseball bats they wielded Thor's mighty hammer, which is ironic, considering that Hank Aaron's nickname is "The Hammer" (or, alternately, "The Maccabee" - tell me Hank Aaron doesn't sound like a Jewish name). Anyway, Bonds' gall (or chutzpah) in breaking Aaron's record, along with the dick way he's been self-advertising, has many baseball fans furious and glued to their television sets. Frankly, this is the first time in history have so many people have fanatically monitored their televisions in anticipation of something awful since the weeks following 9/11.
It's okay, though. This columnist has a solution.
In 1980, Richard Pryor set a record for endurance by performing a two hour 41 minute set at the Laugh Factory. This stood for more than twenty-five years. Then Dane Cook, the biggest cock in comedy, beat his record with a three hour fifty minute show. For a brief period of time, the world of standup comedy was at a standstill. If Dane Cook could beat a record set by Richard Pryor, what reason was there for anything at all? That's why, in early 2007, Dave Chappelle beat this record with a six hour seven minute show, basically unbeatable, essentially taking the record back for talented, black comedians. Suck it, Dane Cook.
What baseball needs is for the player with the most integrity to beat Barry Bonds' record as soon as possible, and in an unbeatable way. The answer should be clear. Dave Chappelle needs to set this record with, say, 4,000 home runs. How will he accomplish this? With pluck and perseverance, of course. And possibly with the help of some strictly homeopathic nonaddictive supplements.

Labels: , , , , , ,