USMNT Soccer: The Gut Response


Owing to an own-goal and an utterly lifeless performance, the United States Men’s National Soccer Team eliminated themselves from the 2018 World Cup. Trinidad and Tobago were already eliminated and had nothing to play for, yet the United States made them look like a team headed for World Cup glory. The last time the USMNT missed the World Cup? 1986 (back when we thought it couldn’t get any worse than the NASL’s Team America. It got worse.)

Humiliation does not even come close to describing this. Embarrassment is a tiny dot in the rear-view mirror. I’m gutted. And I’m angry at the potential that was pissed away.

At this point (and maybe I’ll change my mind after I cool off, but don’t count on it), there needs to be a top-down housecleaning at U.S. Soccer. Which probably should have happened pre-Klinsmann, but now would be good.

Obviously, it’s too soon to speculate on what our roster will look like in 2021-2022. Tim Howard and Clint Dempsey will age out. There are some great young players (Christian Pulisic damn near saved us this year). But there needs to be some deep soul-searching among U.S. Soccer leadership.

And that soul-searching needs to include how the United States Women’s National Team is treated. The team that ACTUALLY WON THE 2015 WORLD CUP still gets paid substantially less than what the men are paid. And that’s something that U.S. Soccer should also find deeply humiliating.

So yeahhhhhhNO, I’m not going to cool down from this. As I prepare for a cross-country move by cleaning out my apartment, I urge U.S. Soccer to join me by purging your house of all that no longer serves you.

P.S. I don’t have cable TV, but from my Twitter feed, it sounds like Taylor Twellman is carpet-truth-bombing U.S. Soccer on ESPN. “Belgium beat Bosnia on a COW PASTURE, but we can’t play in Trinidad, with water on the field!”


(Edit) See Twellman’s rant. Real talk.

Terrible Beauty 

Right now, there are fires raging through Napa and Sonoma counties, causing evacuations and destroying homes. There was also a fire in the North Berkeley hills overnight, but no report of property loss. Those of us near the bay are feeling the effects of the thick smoke in the air. It makes for a pretty sunrise, but it is a terrible beauty. 

My thoughts are with the folks in the path of these horrible fires. 

Well, Sh*T

Most of you know by now that Dos Gatos Locos and I are planning a cross-country move soon. I debated how I’d get them from one coast to the other, before deciding that we’ll all go together in the car (Charlie doesn’t handle separation from me very well, so it seems less stressful on him for us to drive together, rather than me being gone for 10 days driving the car across the country, then flying to California and flying with both of them back to the east coast.) I’ve acquired larger carriers for both of them, but I’ve held on to the smaller carrier for their vet trips. That way, the red carrier is associated with vet visits, but the blue carriers aren’t. I also bought Feliway spray for the carriers and the car, and am about to start test trips soon, to get them used to being in the car.

It happens that both boys have their annual exams around this time of the year: Charlie got a clean bill of health a couple of weekends ago. Tonight was Clancy’s turn. Where Charlie is timid and hyperventilates at vet visits, Clancy becomes possessed by demons and turns into a growling, howling, hissing asshole. They’re also due for fecal tests, but I wasn’t able to get a sample before we left. That’s okay, though, because Clancy provided a TON of samples in the carrier on the way to the vet’s office! Which he managed to stomp in. Repeatedly. I think he may have been trying to fling some at me from the back seat. (For the record, he’s never had an accident in the carrier.)

Once inside the exam room, the vet tech sent the carrier to the back for cleaning (BLESS THOSE ANGELS AT THE VET’S OFFICE, HOW I WILL MISS THEM) while she asked me the usual questions (eating/diet, any vomiting, is he peeing okay, pooping…well we had our answer there already).

While we waited for the vet I tried to clean Clancy off, which went about as well as one would expect from a cat who is pissed off and wants to remain covered in shit because THAT’LL TEACH YOU TO TOUCH ME, HUMAN. He was as nice as can be, as long as he and I watched the birds and other passers-by outside the window together. But we’ve all seen that horror film, right? We know Mr. Hyde was lurking, ready to rear his evil stinky head.

The vet came into the room and we assessed how dirty Clancy was (it was mostly in his toes at this point). “Well, we’ve certainly seen a lot worse,” the vet said. She petted Clancy before trying to examine him. He did all right until she wanted to listen to his heart and lungs. O HAI, MR. HYDE! But the doctor is a pro and she managed to complete that, look at his teeth (a bit of gingivitis, but his teeth otherwise look good) and felt his innards. And this year it only took one vet tech to hold Clancy for the vet to get him his rabies shot (last year it was me, plus two vet techs and it still took about 10 minutes before we were able to hold him still long enough for the jab).

Clancy got his clean bill of health and we were on our way home. Now you know what happened on the way home, don’t you? YOU SURE DOODOO!


When we got home Clancy and I went straight to the bathroom so I could clean him and the carrier. Charlie insisted on hanging out with us, but immediately regretted that choice, once Clancy got out of the carrier and smeared poop everywhere. Charlie leaped up on the toilet lid hoping to escape the biological war that had broken out, but still sorta wanting to be involved. Clancy was (quite understandably) very angry with me as I wetted paper towels down to clean him off. (I thought for about .00005 seconds about giving him a full bath in the tub, but decided I prefer keeping the flesh on my arms, torso, and face, so we went the wipe-down route.) Much hissing, swatting, growling, and howling ensued and then Charlie started growling at Clancy because Clancy was growling at me. I explained to Charlie that Clancy couldn’t help pooping and I understood that he’s upset with me right now and he should just love his brother. Both of them calmed back down and I sent them out of the room while I disinfected the surfaces and scrubbed out the carrier.

All is calm now. I’ve got Clancy as clean as I can get him (he’ll take care of the rest on his own), the carrier and bathroom are wiped down. Charlie has had his asthma inhaler and both cats have had their dinner. (Clancy seems to be the only one of us whose appetite wasn’t affected by all of the drama.) Usually, as I’m preparing their meals, Charlie and Clancy entertain themselves by performing Gato Lucha Libre in the kitchen. While I got their dishes out, Charlie started to head-tackle Clancy but immediately pulled back, with a look on his face that said “I WON’T WRASSLE YOU BECAUSE YOU SMELL LIKE VET’S OFFICE AND POO!” He also considered asking me to feed him away from his brother, but decided to eat in his regular spot after all.

So now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to fire up the essential oil diffuser and have a cup of lavender chamomile tea while I order another three dozen containers of Nature’s Miracle wipes, about 500 potty pads, and every li’l tree car freshener Amazon has in stock for that cross-country drive.

re: #TakeAKnee

So I see World Leader Pretend decided that going off on Colin Kaepernick and Steph Curry was more important than helping Americans in Puerto Rico, who are facing an unimaginable humanitarian crisis.

World Leader Pretend has even called for a boycott of the NFL if the players #TakeAKnee or sit during the national anthem.

I won’t take advice or direction from a draft dodger who has to be reminded to place his hand over his heart during the national anthem. I have plenty of reasons of my own to have stopped supporting the National Football League.

I stopped supporting the NFL over a decade ago, but NOT because of players who exercise their constitutional right to stand or sit or sing or pray or do whatever the hell they want to during the national anthem. I quit watching the NFL because I do not condone celebrating rapists, wife/girlfriend beaters, animal abusers, or the league office covering up the fact that the sport is very very bad for brains. I stopped supporting the NFL because, when I took a good long, uncomfortable look at it, I found I was disgusted that the league owners enjoy running the league like a giant plantation.

While I won’t watch the NFL, I will #TakeAKnee with Colin Kaepernick until Black and Brown people can leave their homes and go about their lives without fear of facing a police officer who appoints him/herself as judge/jury/executioner for those whose only “crime” was existing as a person of color in public. I will #TakeAKnee until we start moving our society toward racial justice and equal opportunity for ALL Americans, regardless of their skin color, gender identity or sexual orientation. I will #TakeAKnee because my Black and Brown friends are weary from fighting this battle, every single day of their lives, and I refuse to stand by and watch them continue to fight this alone.

Postscript: Well, after several days, World Leader Pretend finally had something to say about the devastation in Puerto Rico. No surprise that he pretty much insulted them and kicked them while they’re down, for that’s the Way Of The Bully.

How nice that he managed to work in that food, (clean) water, and medical supplies/help are somewhere on the list of priorities…after dragging Puerto Rico for owing Wall Street and banks. Good grief!

If you want to help the people of Puerto Rico in their recovery, Jezebel has a roundup of places where you can donate.

Actually, White America, #ThisIsUs. And We Must #DoBetter

Like many, I’ve been watching what has been happening in Charlottesville, Virginia and it has turned my insides into a cocktail shaker of revulsion, rage, and profound despair.

What is missing from this mix, however, is shock.

What is going on in Charlottesville this weekend should not be a shock to anyone, yet my Twitter feed is full of (mostly) white people who are absolutely shocked by what is happening. There are a lot of declarations that the bigotry and racial hatred we’re seeing is “not who we are” or “not what America is about” and #ThisIsNotUs.

If you are one of those people condemning the Nazis and white nationalists using this kind of language, please tell me: Have you studied American history at all? Not the Rah-Rah-America crap we were fed in school, but REAL American history. The history where White America committed genocide. The history where White America enslaved blacks and forced many other races into hard labor to build our infrastructure. The history where non-whites were not allowed to vote. The not-that-distant history where white people kept non-white people segregated, forced them into separate neighborhoods, separate stores, separate schools, separate busses, SEPARATE GODDAMN DRINKING FOUNTAINS.

Because it seems to me that if you learned actual American history, the hard, ugly truth, you’d understand that this country was built on racial bigotry. We’ve been at this for 250 years.

Did you really believe that having a black POTUS was going to make that all go away? That the neo-Nazis and white nationalists would suddenly see the error of their ways and we’d be One Nation, Indivisible, With Liberty And Justice For All?

That there is some serious Magical Thinking.

White America: what we saw in Charlottesville, and in Portland and Minnesota and across the country over the last several months, THIS IS US. It should not be us, we wish it wasn’t us, but we have a hell of a long way to go before we can claim that these people do not represent America.

So, enough living in denial: it’s well past time that we own this. It’s time that we clean this up. It’s time that we come for our bigoted relatives, friends, and co-workers. Call their racist shit out. Have those uncomfortable discussions.

But if all you’ve got is re-posting touching photos with superimposed Martin Luther King or Mahatma Gandhi quotes on your Facebook page all day, you’re bullshit unless you’re willing to do the real work to make Actual America live up to Fantasy America.

Stuff I Saw Recently: Sunrise Edition

“…as the seasons roll on by.”

Now that we’re half way through summer, the days are getting shorter and I’m starting to see the sunrise again each morning, as I wait for the ferry.

Last Wednesday there was a crazy reflection of the rising sun off of some of the buildings in San Francisco. The rose-gold was stunning, though neither my phone camera nor this point-and-shoot could do it the proper justice.

The August 2, 2017 sunrise is reflecting off of the buildings in San Francisco.

(Bonus appearance by @KarlTheFog, stretching an arm across the skyline.)

The following morning, I caught the sun rising up over the Oakland Hills. I’m not sure what tall sail ship they’re working on next door (I don’t think it’s the Balclutha, as I’ve heard it is still in its usual spot over by Fishermen’s Wharf), but I liked the look of it (and my beloved AT-AT cranes) against the sunrise.

sunrise over the east bay hills
The sun rises over the Oakland Hills on Thursday, August 3, 2017. Taken from the ferry terminal in Alameda, California.