Friday, May 29, 2009

I hacked my way into today's conference call with Bob Bradley. The results are posted over at Brucio's superblog.
Yes, I've got wieters madness.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

A few things are on my mind:

1. There's a fascinating piece in the new york times today about Swiss rapper (!) Stress. Apparently he's caused quite the stir by taking potshots at the ultranationalist Swiss People's Party, which is the country's most powerful political organization. (Who knew?) They won 29 percent of the vote in the last election by demonizing immigrants, circulating racist propaganda and celebrating traditional Swiss cultural practices such as yodeling. In particular, Stress has cheesed off the party's leader, Christoph Blocher, who sounds like a monumental horse's ass:

“Blocher’s Switzerland is people in the mountains making cheese,” he said. “But you also have a Switzerland where people struggle to make ends meet. His party doesn’t represent the Switzerland where I grew up, which is made up of people who came to build the country, literally to build its buildings and streets. The Swiss People’s Party campaigns by using Osama bin Laden in posters about the threat of immigration. For me this is just unfair.”
2. Squirrels are lustily eying my vegetable patch. The fence doesn't deter them. They can invade by air via a tree that hovers over the garden. I just went outside and threw rocks at them for several minutes. Luckily the house next door is in foreclosure, so there's nobody around to wonder why I'm chucking rocks into their yard. But I don't think this is going to be a viable long-term deterrence strategy.

3. I've got an idea for a song. It will require a field trip to the notorious Palmer's Bar in the West Bank neighborhood of Minneapolis. Behind the bar is a collage of notes listing all the people who have been kicked out of that wretched den of alcoholism over the years. The notes are crass and politically incorrect. Shit like this: "Joe the one-legged Indian. 86'd for generally being an asshole." Just pile these genius bits on top of each other and slap a chorus on it: "Palmer's Bar, Palmer's Bar, they won't even serve me in Palmer's Bar." It's a sure-fire hit. Just like my last creation, "Dollar Store," which has already been covered by White Jimmy Gaines.

4. The two best teams in MLS square off tonight on ESPN2: Chivas v. Chicago. Every year I think Chivas is going to stink up the league. On paper they look pretty wretched, their only "Mexican" is some guy named Lillingston and they've once again been decimated by injuries. But they've got Paulo Nagamura (my pick for MVP so far this season) and Jesse Marsch bossing the midfield. Fat Zach Thornton has somehow discovered the best form of his career. And even without a single goal from their supposed main man Sacha Kljestan, they're torching the western conference. Chicago has the most formidable attacking trio in the league with Cuauhtemoc Blanco, Brian McBride and Chris Rolfe (when he can get on the field). The back line, led by the classy Gonzalo Segares and the thug-ish Wilman Conde, is equally impressive. There's been flashes of brilliance so far this season, but Chicago's struggled to keep it together for 90 minutes. We'll see if they can do so tonight.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I used to have a cat named Bunky. He was a renowned killer of lizards and rabbits. When I lived in Fort Lauderdale, he would often show up in my bed with a lizard, still very much alive, clutched between his teeth. In the eighteen months I lived in South Florida, he reduced the lizard population by at least several score.

Bunky's killing days were disrupted when I moved to the Uptown neighborhood of Minneapolis in 2000. Save the odd mouse or cockroach there just wasn't much to prey on in the building, and going outside from my third-floor apartment wasn't really an option.

But when I moved to Frogtown a year later Bunky was back in the hunt. A few years back he discovered a warren of baby rabbits in my next door neighbor's yard. It was a full on bunny genocide.

One night I came home, semi-stumbling drunk, and let Bunky in the front door. After flipping the lights on, I discovered that he had an animal clenched between his teeth. It was a baby rabbit -- and it was very much alive. I howled, out of a combination of surprise and fear, causing Bunky to drop the foul beast on the porch.

The terrified baby bunny then began careening around the house like Lionel Messi on crystal meth. I eventually isolated him in the kitchen and closed the doors. I then picked up the scoop from Bunky's litter box and drunkenly lurched after the animal. After about ten minutes of this absurd pursuit I succeeded in scooping up the tiny beast and flinging him out the back door. To this day there is perhaps a bunny with a severe case of post-traumatic-stress disorder roaming around Frogtown.

But Bunky is now dead. He keeled over from a heart attack more than a year ago. And I've undoubtedly got one pissed off bunny population -- still recovering from the Great Bunny Genocide of 2005 -- ready to decimate my garden.

So yesterday I constructed a (hopefully) rabbit-proof fence:

I was quite proud of this achievement. Until a friend (whom I'd coerced into coming over to marvel at my ingenuity) pointed out that I'd put the damn thing in upside down. The larger holes, which a baby rabbit could quite easily step through, were supposed to go at the top. Which anyone with half an ounce of common sense would have realized.

So we flipped it over and pounded the stakes back in. The fence got a little mangled in the process. But hopefully it will be sufficient to keep Bigwig and his ilk out of my garden.

Monday, May 25, 2009

The Bunky County Memorial Garden is planted:

Sweet basil, Thai basil, lemon basil,cilantro, red leaf lettuce, three varieties of tomato, cucumbers, chili peppers, and green bell peppers.

The sweet basil already looks diseased:

The cucumber and chili pepper plants are even worse off. I got the plants from a friend who grew them from seed in egg cartons. The experiment apparently didn't go too well. Most of the leaves are white and withered. But I'm going to give them a try. A few of the cukes might have a chance. But I'll probably end up ripping most of them out of the ground next weekend and buying some less challenged plants.

Yesterday I went in search of free compost. A friend tipped me off to the compost site in South St. Paul. It's a veritable mountain of organic matter, free for the taking. I loaded up a recycling bin with the stuff:

I don't really have much of a clue what you're supposed to do with compost. So I've just been shoveling clumps of it onto the garden. I buried one wee little tomato plant in organic matter. We'll see if he can survive the suffocation.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Standard Liege pulled off a draw, 1-1, on the road. So they're in decent shape to claim the Belgian title on Sunday. But there was some nastiness involving our man Oguchi Onyewu. He claims Jelle Van Damme (no relation to Jean Claude) called him a "dirty ape" on three different occasions during the match. Greg Seltzer has the skinny.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

It's a huge night for Oguchi Onyewu. His Standard Liege squad are visiting arch-nemesis Anderlecht with the Belgian league title on the line. The two sides finished even on points and will play a home-and-away series for bragging rights. Greg Seltzer is providing live commentary over at No Short Corners. The return leg is Sunday.

Friday, May 15, 2009

for the record: I would rather be waterboarded 83 times by Abu Zubaydah than sit through Angels & Demons.


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

I'm sitting in the gallery overlooking the Minnesota House of Representatives. They just passed the higher ed funding bill by a 103-31 margin after very little debate. Rep. Carlos Mariani is now pimping some bill dealing with charter schools. Of course there's no end in sight to the budget battle.

But more importantly Borussia Monchengladbach and Michael Bradley pulled off as massive 1-0 road victory today over Energie Cottbus. Dante saved them from hell (or at least Bundesliga 2) with a 90th minute goal. They are now three points clear of the relegation zone with just two matches left to play.

Monday, May 11, 2009

It's been awhile since we posted about cheese. Too long, many would say. But we have some wonderful news: Roquefort cheese is here to stay. It goes nicely with a three liter box of J.P. Chenet Cabernet-Syrah.

I used to have a gardner, Tom, but he moved to Idaho. He'd grown bored with gardening. Instead he wanted to shoot off guns in the great outdoors. Apparently Idaho has a very permissive climate for this sort of activity.

So for the last three years I've had a patch of grass-less land in my backyard where Tom the Gardner used to work the soil. I've made a few false starts at growing some vegetables there myself, but mostly it's been a 15' x 15' thicket of horticultural mayhem.

This year, however, given the dust-bowl economy, I've vowed to make a serious attempt at gardening. At some point, inevitably, this project will run off the rails. And I'll be back to curating the Frogtown Rain Forest in my backyard. But for now, ready for planting, it looks reasonably respectable:

Despite my best attempt to sabotage the collective effort, Bunky County won its third straight match yesterday. The ineptitude of my performance was truly staggering, but somehow we survived.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

This blog has been pretty awful since Brucio abandoned us. But a few things are on my mind.

1. After suffering an opening season loss, Bunky County has responded with two consecutive victories. Granted, one was a forfeit. But I'm pretty sure our sweet new kits are responsible for the fine run of form:

(If anyone would like one of these rare shirts, I've got a few left. Cost: $13. Shoot me an email: pdemko @

2. Mo Edu made his Old Firm debut this morning for Rangers. The squad won 1-0 to go top of the table with three games to go. So how'd Mo do? Take it away Rangers' boss Walter Smith:

"Maurice did well too. I'm sure he'll remember his Old Firm debut because he got clubbed a couple of times. That will no doubt be a nice memory for him.

"He's still got a bit to learn. He has been thrown in at the end of a season that I thought he'd play a bit-part in and has done really well.

"Mo has been asked to play regularly in the last half-dozen games or so and he has fitted into the team."

3. The Red Bulls were simply fantastic last night in their 4-1 pasting of San Jose. All of King Juan Carlos Osorio's foreign imports seem to be finally be paying dividends.

Carlos Johnson finally made it through an entire game without getting a red card and looks like he'll be a nice threat bombing forward from the back.

Albert Celades showed flashes of why he once suited up for Barcelona and Real Madrid. His composure on the ball seemed to have a calming influence on the rest of the team. And his ball over the top to Macoumba Kandji to set up the third goal was just sublime.

Speaking of Big Mac -- he was incredible. He terrorized the San Jose defenders all night long. At one point in the first half he breezed past Nick Garcia with such ease that I had to avert my eyes out of embarassment for the old war horse. Kandji's work rate throughout the game was astonishing. Doesn't he remind you just a little of a guy by the name of Adebayor?

Granted it's just one game. And San Jose was absolutely putrid. But New York is going to be a very difficult team to play.