In actuality, the reason for my lack of posts as of late is far less depressing than using a lottery pick on a one-dimensional, unathletic shooter with a questionable back. Far, far less depressing. You see, I was on vacation. I didn’t go anywhere on vacation but I did have five consecutive days off of work. I don’t know about you, but where I come from that’s close enough to count. There’s not a whole heck of a lot to tell about those five days (or any of the other unaccounted for days between now and then) so I’m going to give all my random thoughts in the terrifically non-specific Good/Bad format.
Good: Five consecutive days off during the summer. Five days that were (for the most part) absolutely gorgeous.
Bad: My insistence on drinking heavily for pretty much the entire five days off (or the nights anyway).
Good: Fourth of July (daytime). Some friends and I attended a party near the river that featured (among other things) free beer, free liquor, and an ungodly number of girls in their early twenties of questionable morals. A truly entertaining and enjoyable day.
Bad: Fourth of July (evening). After a solid five hours of drinking I met up with my girlfriend who immediately proceeded to pick one of the most fantastic fights I’ve ever seen with me. That’s just great. Fighting is exactly what I want to do when my wits and intellect have been severely diminished. Go America.
Good: The location of said party. It was across a major road from the “mouth of the ghetto”, as I was referring to it. The location was in a great spot with tons of parking and a heck of a view of the river. Even better, the location’s proximity to the ghetto led to a number of stragglers attending the party who clearly didn’t fit in with the rest of the crowd. Not only were many of these attendees more than eager to help themselves to free food and booze but many of them were also quite willing to make a scene of themselves as the day wore on.
Bad: See above.
Good: My read during a game of poker on July 3rd. With three people left at the table, I was dealt Ace-2. I stayed in because I hadn’t gotten shit all night. Literally. This was the second best hand I’d been dealt in almost an hour. When two more 2s came out on the flop I checked. Both of my opponents jumped in with large bets. As the call came back to me, I calmly called "all in". They both matched me. When we showed our cards, one had a pair of Kings and the other was sitting on two pair, completely unaware of a straight draw he’d picked up.
Bad: The River. Johnny Two Pair picked up a six on the river to give him the straight and beat my Ace-high, Three of a Kind. Even worse, his brother (the other opponent) had to clue him into his luck. I not only lost the pot, but lost the game in one fell swoop. The moral: Poker sucks.
Good: Playing a ridiculous amount of beer pong at my friend’s house warming party on Sunday. Good God, I haven’t played that many games since undergrad.
Bad: Partnering with my girlfriend, who (apparently) hadn’t played beer pong since high school.
Good: The Brazil-France match. For my money, this was the best game of the Cup thus far. Italy-Germany might have had more drama and a more exhilarating finish, but this game’s level of play was something you just don’t see very often. Any soccer fan knew that this game was going to be a good one based soley on the individual talent level that each side boasted. It will be a long, long time before you see that many legendary, world class players (Ronaldo, Zidane, Ronaldinho, Henry, R. Carlos, L. Thuram, Cafu, Viera, etc., etc.) on the field together at one time. However, it wasn’t simply the players on the pitch that made this game so fantastic. Rather, it was the overall pace of play and intensity of the teams, combined with the tremendous artistry and stakes of the game that made this match stand out above the rest.
Bad: Missing out on the Italy-Germany match. From what I heard and the highlights I saw this was every bit as entertaining as the Brazil-France match, if not played at as high a level.
Good: France advancing to the Finals. I’ve said it in this space before, as much as I hate the French I cannot root against Zidane. He’s absolutely perfect as a player, in my opinion. In the spirit of full disclosure here I’ve even begun to think of ways to convince any future wife on the merits of Zidane as a first name for a boy. For the record: Yes, I know its pathetic and yes, I know it’s his last name. I don’t care and I happen to think Zinedine is just a little too ridiculous. If that makes any sense.
Dude, you should totally name your next kid after me!
Bad: Italy advancing to the Finals. As if it’s not bad enough that they stole a game from the US and that they flop more than Derek Fisher and Manu Ginobilli combined, my girlfriend’s family happens to be Italian. Full on, off the boat Italian. If Italy wins on Sunday I’ll never hear the end of it. All my I-talian jokes will be worthless for months, possibly longer. I can’t emphasize this enough. I'm not talking about a family of greasy guidos out of New Jersey here. I need to be able to make fun of “a county full of espresso swilling pansies”. Just for the record, I’m much more bitter at her and her brother’s support for Italy than either of her parents.
Here’s why: Her parents were born and raised in Italy. Moving here when they were in their early 20s and now running a fine dining Italian joint. Her brother (born in America by the way) goes so far as to refer to Italy as “we” during World Cup matches (even against the US). This is a guy who drinks Bud light, smokes Marlboros and drives a Chevy pickup…you’re as American as it gets. I’m not even very patriotic and he pisses me off.
Good: It’s Friday and I’m out of here in a half hour.
Bad: My effort on this column.