Saturday, July 24, 2010

Bizarre Injuries

I've decided I'm getting serious about blogging at least on a weekly basis. It's only been thirteen days since last time, so I'm getting better. It promises to be a strange mix of whatever's on my mind. This week has been strange due to a couple of oddball injuries in our family. Last Saturday, I was injured by a buffalo wing to the eye. No, Amy didn't chuck it at me, although she is getting feistier as she suffers with heat and child. I was just minding my own business, eating peacefully, and as I pulled it away from my mouth, a piece flew off into my eye, somehow making it underneath my glasses. I was more embarrassed than in pain, until I opened my eye and felt the burn of the buffalo sauce. It took some rinsing with cold water and a few minutes of extra care until I recovered, but let that be a warning to ya.

Even more strange was the next day. We came home from church and Jackson immediately fled to the backyard as he is wont to do, and after changing clothes, Amy went out and found him completely dirty from playing in his favorite spot just under the deck. She threw him in the shower, and as time went on his upper lip started swelling. And I'm talking comic-book proportions, like the scene in Hitch where Will Smith eats shellfish and his whole face starts puffing up. He looked like a platypus, but he showed no signs of pain, and was in fact in above average spirits. We called the pharmacist, I made a quick Sabbath excursion to buy some children's Benadryl, and it took two days for the swelling to completely subside. We found out later that what happened was that he'd been stung by a bee on the inside of his lip. How that happens I have no idea, but of course it had to be the autistic son who can't communicate. Here is a shot of the damage:

Anyway, I've been no stranger to bizarre injuries in my life. My all-time favorite was when I was a missionary in Cape Verde (a small island country in West Africa), and hurriedly got out of the shower when I heard a ruckus which I knew could only mean the guys were in hot pursuit of a mouse. As I did so, I scraped my leg against the jagged edge of a bidet (a porcelain plumbing fixture, popular in Europe, that is situated next to the toilet, with a nozzle that squirts your unmentionables as an alternative to toilet paper). I bled profusely and allowed one of my missionary cohorts who was semi-trained in first aid to stitch me up rather than going to the local hospital where I figured they'd probably amputate my leg with a rusty saw. I still have the scar, but came out of it much better than the mouse, who was literally torn in half when my fat, hairy companion tried to stomp him and lost his footing, sliding across the floor with the upper body under his foot. Now that I think about it, that was a pretty colorful day, and that was just the lunch break. Anyway, I'd love to hear any stories you may have of bizarre injuries. I'm tempted to prematurely declare Julia Munns Burdych the winner, since I know about one particular owwie that you couldn't even make up, but I'll wait a few days and see if anyone can top it. Okay, go!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Note to FIFA: Your Sport is Not Worthy of America

Congratulations to Thpain for their victory over the freaky-deaky Dutch.  With the World Cup now over, we can all now move on to football season.  I mean real football, if there are any pantywaist soccer lovers among my readers.  As far as I'm concerned, June and July are by far the worst months in sports, especially when the Lakers are in the NBA Finals. I'm close to renouncing the NBA as it is, but the Jazz have kept me paying attention for this long, and I'll continue following for at least one more season before the almost certain lockout, then I'll switch over full-time to college.  You know it's bad when you can actually script most of the next year or so.  Next June, it'll be Lakers-Miami, which will cause most of the country to wish both teams could lose, then the collective bargaining agreement is up, but with the current situation untenable, barring a miracle, there will be a major impasse between owners and players that will cause SportsCenter to be overrun with stories on a work stoppage instead of actual sport.

But I digress.  Four years ago I was sucked into the World Cup when Portugal, the country of my mission, took fourth place, and this time around, I expected that I might start giving a crap at any time.  I kept my eye on it virtually the entire time and saw nothing that captured my heart or imagination.  Today's championship game, which I tuned into for a few minutes out of sheer curiosity, was a 0-0 tie until the 119th minute.  It's complete and utter hell, and I don't see how the world can be so wrong about anything.  In Europe and South America, for even a mildly interesting match between two local teams, the streets are empty.  Vacant.  Deserted. So I can only imagine what it's like when the stakes get high.  Spain will probably be hung over until Thursday.

For years, it's been said that America is poised for soccer to break away and garner the same gigantic interest that our other sports generate.  They've been saying that for at least thirty years, despite the fact that most of our guys couldn't even sniff the top leagues abroad.  Major League Soccer?  Please.  At best, MLS is a low-level minor league on the international scene. But this year, the U.S. did show some major improvement and captured the public attention for a moment.  I personally think this was just a hiccup, and most of us won't give soccer a second thought until 2014, but that won't stop the conversation.  For a more detailed view of why I believe soccer will never gain the ground its supporters hope for, articulated as well as anything I could ever say, read Sal Paolantonio's How Football Explains America.

Unless, that is, FIFA's governing body, along with all others involved in the sport, adopt these rules, as suggested by Bucky in today's Get Fuzzy comic.  Bucky Katt is a hilariously antisocial, hostile, and ignorant character, but I feel that in this case, his suggestions would vastly improve the many and varied weaknesses of the game that the world has been so obsessed with over the past month.

1.  Put one of the forward's grandmothers in a dunking booth that drops her into ice cold water whenever his team takes a shot that misses the open goal.

2.  No cleats.  Everybody wears those lead-soled Frankenstein-type boots.  (That should make #1 more interesting too).

3.  All the substitutes are knife-wielding monkeys.  Except the back-up goalie.  He has a slingshot.

4.  All the refs are MMA fighters and every time a player falls down and fakes an injury, the ref steps in and administers to that player the very injury they were faking.

Okay, people, tell me you wouldn't watch this, and that it wouldn't make the matches infinitely more watchable.  Does this not just reek of common sense to rid us of the things that are most contemptible about soccer?  Bucky Katt for President!

P.S.  An interesting note: soccer enthusiasts, especially Brits, have long gotten on America's case about using the word football for our own brutal, far superior game.  But did you know that the term soccer actually originated in England as an Oxford "-er" abbreviation of the word association?  So they're bitching at us for using a term that they created.