Some quick things before I go to work in this mind-numbing heat:

-- My god, the Giants lost to the fucking Devil Rays. And, from what I saw when ESPN was bouncing around during the Sox-Padres rain delay, the G-Men had the bases loaded in the 9th, and scored the tying run on a 6-4-3 double play. If THAT doesn't define this team outside of Bonds....

-- Arsenal is apparently going to shell out 2.1 million euros for Celta Vigo's backup goalkeeper. Yep, a guy who couldn't get a game for a relegated team, and who would be 600,000 Euros more expensive than Jens Lehmann. On top of that, we have young Stuart Taylor and even younger Graham Stack already...I know that Arsene Wenger Knows, but this is...well...weird.

-- Official IWEYS prediction for France-England: 0-0. Official IWEYS prediction for Euro 2004: Portugal wins on home soil.

-- Every time I see John Kruk on ESPN vainly trying to make a lucid point, I always think of one of soccer's funniest crowd chants: "Who ate all the pies? Who ate all the pies? YOU FAT BASTARD, you ate all the pies!"

-- While Shaddax makes a very convincing case about the Bird thing, I'm still bothered on the basic level that, underneath it all, it helps perpetuate that smirking "white people can't play sports" attitude that seems to be prevalent today. If being a soccer and rugby fan has proven anything to me, it's proven that there are fantastic athletes among all races, and in a pretty even proportion...pound-for-pound. There aren't very many Pacific Islanders, for example, but Samoa and Fiji both made the World Cup, and New Zealand is represented by its Maori population as well (actually, the All Blacks do a Maori tribal war dance before each match, and Fiji does something similar...it's intimdating as HELL).

-- I'm still debating as to whether this year's Stanley Cup Finals happened or not. I mean, Tampa Bay? Really? If Canada doesn't win the World Cup, I don't know if they're going to be able to function...they may need a national week of mourning first, especially with the impending Lockout O'Doom.

-- For those that didn't hear, a pro wrestler named John Bradshaw Layfield (doing a JR Ewing-style arrogant rich Texan gimmick) got himself into trouble on Smackdown's Germany tour for, of all things, goose-stepping and giving the Nazi salute to fans. Never mind even that this is ILLEGAL in Germany. I think it's indicative how a pro wrestler (in this case, a guy being pushed to the top of the card when he just doesn't have any particular skill for it, and who is obviously buckling under the pressure) can fall into the trap of believing the fantasy too much. Sure, these characters are their livelihoods, but nowhere, no way does "I was trying to get heel heat" serve as an excuse for ripping at a scar that still haunts an entire nation. It's not surprising coming from Layfield, who is almost a caricature of what left-and-center types dislike about the right. But, make no mistake...this is just as bad as if La Resistance came out and said America deserved 9/11, and wished it would happen again.

-- I enjoyed the Lakers' win in Game 2, but man, if that's all we can come up with at home, it's going to be insanely difficult to win even the one game it'll take out there to get the series back home. This Pistons team looks so strong in every facet of the game...unless they fall off a cliff (and I'm not betting on it), you have to say that they're the favorites to win at this point.

-- When I'm watching ESPN-level boxing, I have to laugh when I see guys who are like 45-6-2, with 38 knockouts. With that kind of record, what are they doing on ESPN still? Did 40 of those wins come over Glass Joe and Von Kaiser? Was Piston Honda just too much for them?


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