Thursday, March 26, 2009

Just Because

For no other reason than pure hilarity. Note the look of pure glee by the woman, the strain of holding an abnormally large wombat, and the expression of terror on said wombat's face.


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Ibrahimovic: Magic or Misfit?

With whispers of Zlatan Ibrahimovic's possible transfer to Barcelona in the summer, the question presents itself: who is Zlatan exactly? Ibrahimovic is just as capable of physics-defying acrobatics (see his flying backheel against Bologna a few months ago) as mind-bending exhibitions of skill and technical ability (see his goal for Ajax against NAC Breda) a few years ago. The giant Swede stands alone with his combination of size, athletic ability and pure technical acumen. Day in and day out in the Serie A, he both bullies and bewilders his opponents with apparent ease.

For all his positives, Ibracadabra (as he is known affectionately to his supporters) seems to suffer from what I call the "Cristiano Ronaldo Effect". A consistent performer day in and day out on the "small" stages of the Serie A and Coppa Italia, Ibra seems to shrink from his responsibilities and disappear on the "big" stages of the UEFA Champions League, and the FIFA World Cup. While Cristiano Ronaldo has arguably shrugged off that underperforming reputation somewhat after scoring a goal and leading his side to a Champions League final victory, Ibrahimovic still has to prove himself under the limelight of international competition.

While it's obvious that Ibra has underperformed in major competitions, his talent is absolutely undeniable. In addition, it is my personal opinion that he has been relied too much upon by his respective club and national teams for their success. When Ibra does not play well, Inter and Sweden often do not play well. This holds true more for Inter than Sweden, but the fact remains that he is the lynchpin for both sides. In a side such as Barcelona, the weight of expectation is perhaps higher, but is also shared by other international superstars such as Leo Messi, Samuel Eto'o, Thierry Henry, Xavi, et al (depending on who remains after Zlatan's prospective transfer). With that weight lifted, Ibra may well be free to perform to the best of his ability on any stage.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Sneaker What?

I don't consider myself a normal sneakerhead. I don't display typical
sneakerhead tendencies such as triple digit footwear count, ability to
spot fake "send help" dunks from across a campus, willingness to camp
out for sneakers, etc. However, I do consider myself a sneaker
aficionado. A "sneaker h" if you will. As such, I find myself perusing
sneaker websites throughout the day and late into the night. I
frequent eBay in search of killer deals, and I pine over the newest
releases, knowing I can't afford them. Why? I love sneakers.

As a sneaker h, the news that Nike is planning to remove the fat tongue from their low top SBs
sent me scrambling to eBay looking for some affordable heat with which
to stock my closet. The notification struck a solid blow to my
sneakerheart, making me cry out in anguish. The main reason I began liking low top SBs was because of the way the oh-so-comfortable fat tongue lends itself to jean-wearing, and for the fresh colorways that poured from Nike's factories. Now I'll have to confine myself to eBay searching and my normal hi-top SBs.

As I said before, I don't consider myself a sneaker head. I feel that's an insult to the real
sneaker heads out there who've devoted their time, energy and money to
copping dope kicks and understanding the game. I respect those people, and as such, I cannot count myself in their number. Sneaker h it is.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


I decided to take another look at my sneaker collection the other day and noticed a key fact about one of my beloved pairs of kicks. My Jordan 11 Concords (the white and black patent leather shoes on the right side of the picture) have a gold Jumpman logo. Uh oh. Strike one for authenticity. I looked at the number on the back of the shoe and was a bit relieved. The correctly spaced, aligned and colored "23" made my pulse return more to normal. Against my better judgment, I looked at the sole of the shoe.

Fake, painted carbon fiber.

@#&*!!!! I've been wearing fake Jordan's for months!!! Disheartened I looked at some more of my sneakers and noticed that my Dinosaur Jr's aren't nearly as purple as they should be. In fact, they're not purple at all... I've been hornswoggled. Bamboozled. Taken in.

Frantic, I tore through the rest of my sneaker collection to see if I was rocking with any more unauthentic kicks. I found no such evidence, but my heart was still at the bottom of my stomach as I looked at my beloved Jordan's.

Then I realized it doesn't matter. I will continue to wear them. If I get called out on them, I get called out on them. I know they're fake. My readership knows they're fake. I'm not trying to hide anything.

Except for maybe that gold Jumpman and the "carbon fiber" sole.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Heir to the Throne

At the venerable age of 38, the Czech lion Pavel Nedved has finally decided to hang up the boots for good. For months there has been a flurry of speculation surrounding the former Ballon d'Or's successor. Many touted Diego Ribas da Cunha (or just plain Diego) as the one to fill the shaggy-haired dynamo's boots, but the jury is still out on his ability to fit into Claudio Ranieri's solid 4-4-2 system. As Ranieri himself stated, in order to include Diego into his squad, he would have to change his preferred formation to accomodate the fantasista.

In my opinion, while Diego is not a player I would be unwilling to welcome to the Bianconeri fold, he doesn't necessarily fit the job description needed. While Nedved is not an old-fashioned winger in his own right, he is not the type of player to ignore tactical instructions in order to play in his own style. While Diego has shown tactical discipline in the past, I don't feel he has the mindset to play on the wing in Ranieri's 4-4-2. If Ranieri is to be manager of Juve, I feel he should play the formation he prefers, and not be forced to incorporate an ill-fitting puzzle piece. As such, I don't feel Diego is the man for the job.

In my opinion, the solution for the impending vacancy plies his trade in Spain for Valencia. Spanish international David Silva is a player very much suited for Juventus' style of play, and he absolutely has the required talent level. Like Nedved, Silva is equally comfortable operating through the centre of attacking midfield or out on the left wing. In addition, Silva can be used as a second striker or on the right wing. With Valencia's current economic troubles, he is an increasingly viable option for La Vecchia Signora. While French international Franck Ribery would be another excellent choice, his high price tag, and the interest of financial powerhouses like Manchester United, Inter Milan and Barcelona make him more of a reach.

The race to sign Nedved's replacement is nearing it's end, and as a staunch Juve supporter, I pray that the club doesn't veer off track and sign a sure flop such as Middlesborough's Stewart Downing, Florent Malouda or another who lacks the required quality.