Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Spirit of Radio...

Tune in!

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Tomorrow night
(Saturday, July 31), I'll be hosting the John Batchelor Show beginning at 6 p.m. Pacific Time. Joining me will be Gordon Chang, my colleague on the show and a columnist for Forbes.com.

The line-up:
  • Jon Decker (Reuters TV White House correspondent) - the mood inside the White House and the administration's reaction to the ruling on Arizona's immigration law.
The latest from our man at Reuters...
  • Thomas Henriksen - Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution on "the soft approach" in Afghanistan, and the Wikileaks controversy.
  • Tunku Varadarajan - National Affairs columnist for The Daily Beast on the Wikileaks controversy and the presidency.
  • Larry Johnson - counter-terrorism expert and renowned blogger (No Quarter) on what we can expect from the Wikileaks' fallout.
  • Bob Zimmerman - of the space-oriented website, Behind the Black, on NASA (the economy and how Congress is/isn't funding space exploration).
  • Dan Caldwell - distinguished professor and author on nuclear brinkmanship and proliferation issues.
  • Peter Hartlaub - pop culture critic (San Francisco Chronicle) on current films and the state of Hollywood.
  • Lou Ann Hammond - of Drivingthenation.com will discuss the newly "priced" Chevy Volt as well as other electric vehicles.
  • Joe Astroth - chief education officer (Autodesk) on President Obama's efforts to improve American students' performance, particularly in science, technology, engineering and math.
I hope you'll join us...

Friday, July 30, 2010

Guess who just got thrown under The Bus?

“I think Charlie Rangel served a very long time and served– his constituents very well. But these– allegations are very troubling,” [President Barack] Obama told Harry Smith in an interview to be aired on the "Early Show,"' and first broadcast on the "CBS Evening News with Katie Couric."

“And he’ll– he’s somebody who’s at the end of his career. Eighty years old. I’m sure that– what he wants is to be able to– end his career with dignity. And my hope is that– it happens.”

(h/t: HotAir)


So long, Charlie...

Big-time radio (tomorrow night)...

Tune in!



Tomorrow night
(Saturday, July 31), I'll be hosting the John Batchelor Show beginning at 6 p.m. Pacific Time. Joining me will be Gordon Chang, my colleague on the show and a columnist for Forbes.com.

The line-up:
  • Jon Decker (Reuters TV White House correspondent) - the mood inside the White House and the administration's reaction to the ruling on Arizona's immigration law.
The latest from our man at Reuters...
  • Thomas Henriksen - Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution on "the soft approach" in Afghanistan, and the Wikileaks controversy.
  • Tunku Varadarajan - National Affairs columnist for The Daily Beast on the Wikileaks controversy and the presidency.
  • Larry Johnson - counter-terrorism expert and renowned blogger (No Quarter) on what we can expect from the Wikileaks' fallout.
  • Bob Zimmerman - of the space-oriented website, Behind the Black, on NASA (the economy and how Congress is/isn't funding space exploration).
  • Dan Caldwell - distinguished professor and author on nuclear brinkmanship and proliferation issues.
  • Peter Hartlaub - pop culture critic (San Francisco Chronicle) on current films and the state of Hollywood.
  • Lou Ann Hammond - of Drivingthenation.com will discuss the newly "priced" Chevy Volt as well as other electric vehicles.
  • Joe Astroth - chief education officer (Autodesk) on President Obama's efforts to improve American students' performance, particularly in science, technology, engineering and math.
I hope you'll join us...

A picture that's worth at least one word...

The one that immediately comes to mind is..."boorish."



This photo of President Barack Obama and his advisers in the Oval Office speaks volumes.

When you think of all the images you've seen taken in the Oval Office, do you remember photos of Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan or any other U.S. president putting his feet up on that desk?

From the vaunted blog, No Quarter, Larry Johnson hits the nail on the head:

"Barack Obama is the incredible shrinking President. It is becoming a theme. The man not only is failing to act on what he promised to do, but he is quickly cultivating an image of a petulant, immature child. Let’s start with lack of respect for the office. This picture summarizes the problem in graphic detail...It is one think to put your feet up on a Steelcase desk or a piece of crap Formica. But this is the Oval Office and that desk is not just any old piece of furniture. It is the Resolute Desk, which was built from the timbers of the HMS Resolute and was a gift from Queen Victoria to President Rutherford B. Hayes. This is a national heirloom. Talk about lacking in class."

Exactly...

(h/t: Mr. Johnson...photo and graf...)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Let's give 'em something to talk about...


We're nearing week's end, so here's a round-up of some of the bigger stories out there...

The president went on "The View" yesterday. Among the topics he touched on - Snooki and LiLo, race and social media. Ba-ba Wa-wa, unfortunately, did not ask him if he was a tree what kind he would be...

When Nancy Pelosi promised to "drain the swamp" in D.C., who knew emptying it would begin on her side of the aisle? (I wonder what else is under the rocks...?)

Maybe her drainage pipe is blocked...

Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio/Gray Davis? Poll shows Californians prefer Davis over The Governator. Looks like Ah-nold shouldn't have quit his day job...

Now that Sen. Harry Reid's efforts have failed, is the global warming movement dead? Moreover, is Harry Reid's career dead?

News item: One in five Californians say they need mental health care...so that's how Nancy Pelosi keeps being re-elected...

Serf warning: "Tax tsunami on the horizon" -(c.q.)...

News item - "Judge Blocks Parts of Arizona Immigration Law"; no word from Feds on actual enforcement of existing laws...

Americans between the ages 18-42, H.R.5741-Universal National Service Act- calls for 2 years mandatory national service. The bill, by the way, is authored by Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY), who will be lucky if he gets away with just two years...

Charlie Rangel - he has a right to be worried...

Hey, who wouldn't like to take four vacations in a month? (Times are tough all over!) I'm just glad the prez and his family feel all our pain...

He was against paying taxes -until he was for paying taxes? John Kerry has "Nothing more to say" about yacht tax dodge. (Thank goodness Mrs. Heinz-Kerry was able to cough-up a nice $500,000 check to the Commonwealth of Taxachusetts to buy-away the embarrassment.)

He should've stuck with the windsurfer...

Add Kerry: "If you guys think that John Kerry doesn't have enough sense of either propriety or common sense, that I'm going to be sailing my boat around Massachusetts where I'm highly recognizable but it's going to somehow stay in Rhode Island and I'm going to avoid a tax . . . I'd be crazy to think that I'm going to be doing that, and that was never our long-term intention here." (As quoted in The Boston Globe - h/t: James Taranto @ Best of the Web Today/WSJ.)

RADIO ALERT! - Yours truly will be hosting the John Batchelor Show tomorrow (Saturday) from 6 p.m. - 10 p.m., Pacific Time. I'll be joined by Gordon Chang of Forbes.com, as well as more than a dozen other guests as we take on the news and events shaping our world. Check local listings or John's website for details...


The John Batchelor Show - tomorrow night!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Big radio this week...


I'll be on the John Batchelor Show tonight, beginning at 6 p.m. Pacific Time, with our weekly edition of all-things-the-Golden-State (aka: "Hotel California") at 6:30 p.m. In addition to "Hotel California," John and I will be discussing the news of the day with experts and correspondents around the world.

On Saturday, I'll be hosting the John Batchelor Show while John takes a well-deserved break. I have more than a dozen different guests "dropping by" to discuss subjects ranging from Afghanistan and politics, to education and space exploration. The show promises to be interesting, informative and fun. It, too, kicks off at 6 p.m. Pacific Time.

The show can be heard on dozens of radio stations around the country, on XM/Sirius satellite and online. Check local listings for details (as well as online listening information). If you don't have a local station carrying the show, you can check out John's website for more...

Thanks for listening!


Monday, July 26, 2010

In case you missed 'em...

A few choice news items:

"Leaked Documents Shed Light on Afghan War" - more and more resembling another failed effort (Vietnam) -

What is really going on over there?

"Smart diplomacy?" White House backed release of Lockerbie bomber (documents undermine Obama's reaction of surprise)...


Gone but not forgotten...

No big deal...it's just your taxes at work/waste - Congress Spent $604,000 on Bottled Water, $397,000 on Catering...

John Kerry's S.S. Ketchup scandal sails on. Says he will pay if ‘taxes are owed.’ (He means Tah-ray-zuh pays, right?)...

"Captain Tax Dodge, reporting for duty!"

$8 billion Calif. rail project results In fewer public transportation users, billions more coming for high-speed rail...

More great news from the administration's Recovery Summer™: "White House Predicts Record $1.47 Trillion Deficit"...

Add Recovery Summer™: For those folks enjoying "Recover Summer," you can attend President Obama's birthday bash for a mere $30,000...

"Recovery Summer?" Heck, no...the Summer of George!

Friday, July 23, 2010

You're doing it wrong...

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) explains that federal government bailouts of GM and Chrysler saved Ford.

Yes, that's just how it worked...

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Bliss Index BLACK LIST

As is the custom, we present another installment of The Bliss Index® BLACK LIST©- a survey of some of the more troubling news and socio-economic indicators...



No media bias here. Move along, citizens: How deep are many journalists in the tank for the Party in Power? Check out The Daily Caller's damning reprints of email conversations between media folks, activists and others on behalf of Team Obama (and against conservatives). So much for the Fourth Estate. And where's the outrage at the more "respected" shops?

Add media bias: One of the "targets" of Journolist "conspirators," Fred Barnes, sheds light on this sad/troubling moment for the press (and public)...

Speaking of emails: Who's next?

This just in from Finally-ville, USA: "California Official's $800,000 Salary in City of 38,000 Triggers Protests." It's about time folks in California did more than apply sun block. You know, people, this didn't happen overnight...


Bell, Calif. - A bit dingy...

Speaking of California: Oakland, aka: the Wild East (Bay), is about to become a factory town - a marijuana factory town. I guess that's one way to bring "green jobs" to the area...

Flying high their flag?

You don't say! According to a Los Angeles Times story, “Some experts say California's payroll system 'puzzle' doesn't compute: They say it should not be as hard as the controller says it is to reprogram the computer system to cut state employees' pay to the minimum wage as Schwarzenegger has demanded while there is no budget.”

Finally, a quick round-up of troubles:

Could BP's hands get any dirtier?

That's one busy/horny ("sex-crazed") poodle!

Could this truly be "the scariest unemployment graph?"

How's that 'Recovery Summer' working out for ya? - "U.S. Housing Starts Drop to Lowest Level Since October" ...

America struggling with a sputtering economy, high unemployment but times are booming for Washington’s governing class...

News item: John Edwards film may unearth new details on scandal...and things only his hairdresser knows for sure...

Another bad hair day ahead?


"Adding new jobs at a rate of 200,000 a month would take us 150 months -- or 12.5 years -- to get back to normalcy"...

He might have a point...

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Forty-one years ago...

We fulfilled President John F. Kennedy's promise to land a man on the moon and return him safely to Earth.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Radio-ology

Lots of airtime for yours truly this weekend…


Tomorrow night (Saturday, July 17), from 6 – 10 p.m. (Pac Time), I’ll be co-hosting The John Batchelor Show with Simon Constable and Gordon Chang. We’ll be discussing a variety of issues with correspondents throughout the U.S. as well as key locations around the world where news is breaking.

Gordon Chang...

I’ll also join John on Sunday night to discuss California news, politics and the economy.

Simon Constable...

A little background: The John Batchelor Show streams on dozens of affiliates across the nation, and you can go to the individual station websites and find the "Listen Live" icon. Easier, instead, is iTunes streaming. Go to iTunes Radio and prompt Enter. Scroll down to "Talk/Spoken Word" and prompt Enter. Find the John Batchelor Show affiliate and prompt to play the stream. The stream (WABC, WMAL, WLS, KSFO, WBAP and so forth) will load quickly and hold perfectly. The show also appears on the XM/Sirius satellite radio network(s).

The John Batchelor Show is an essential tool for understanding the new order in the 21st Century. The world is now facing a dangerous and fanatical enemy determined to destroy Western civilization on both political and military fronts. In this, the first great ideological battle of the new millennium, it is imperative to know the major players and the theaters in which they operate. The show features a multitude of distinctive elements. John's themes cover every detail - from military battles, presidential campaigns, planetary exploration, and Hollywood politicos to his own international travel. The show has been broadcast from many corners of the world and the program calls out to all points, including New York, California, Jerusalem, Des Moines, Kazakhstan, Orlando, Manchester, Morocco, Boston, Taipei, Washington, and Baghdad (to name but a few locations).


The "Not-So-Golden State"

The news from California isn't getting better...



The Financially Challenged State: California's governor, the Honorable Arnold Terminator, tried pressuring the legislature - now far behind the statutory deadline - into finally passing the annual budget. He did so by attempting to place more than 200,000 state employees on minimum wage (at a little over $7 per hour). According to the Associated Press, "A judge on Friday declined to force the state controller to comply with an order by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to pay state workers minimum wage while the state remains without a budget." The guv has promised to keep the heat on by appealing to a higher court. No word if he ended his statement with, "I'll be back."

The Overcrowded State: California has long felt the pressures of illegal immigration, and during this time of economic downturn the friction is even greater. According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, "Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Friday will order 224 California National Guard troops to the border with Mexico, fulfilling an earlier commitment to President Barack Obama. In May, Obama launched a plan to deploy 1,200 National Guard troops to the southwest border, alarmed by a tide of smuggled drugs and immigrants and pummeled politically over illegal immigration. Schwarzenegger earlier pledged California’s full cooperation with federal initiatives to secure the border and attack the narcotics trade. 'This is just the beginning,' Schwarzenegger said last month. 'We must find a more permanent solution to our broken immigration system.'" Is there an Arizona anti-illegal immigration bill for California in the wings?

Backing away...

Add illegal immigration: The Sacramento Bee reports that GOP gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman looks to be doing a 180 on previous statements. "Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman is backing away from a key immigration proposal she advanced in this spring's competitive GOP primary after farmers and other business interests expressed displeasure with her idea. As she campaigned this spring, Whitman said she would send state and local officials into California businesses to look for illegal immigrants – her own version of federal immigration workplace inspections. But her campaign now says she would wait to act until the federal government institutes a 'fail-safe' way for employers to verify workers' status – an effort that has been more than a decade in the making." Looks like we might be getting a sequel to that last Hollywood flop, "The Governator."

In a Disagreeable State: What's the outlook for California's economy? Depends who you ask. On one hand, you've got three-term U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D) - who is angling for a fourth - telling everyone that "clean and green" (jobs) are going to save the state. On the other hand, you've got U.S. Senate-hopeful Carly Fiorina (R), her challenger and the highest ranking female CEO (ever), bringing reality to the mix. According to a piece in the LA Times,"For Sen. Barbara Boxer and her opponent Carly Fiorina, the battle in the next four months may be over two Californias: whether the state is a gloomy place where businesses are still struggling to survive or one that is about to turn the corner and become the bustling hub of the clean-energy economy." Perhaps Sen. Boxer should ask her how her thinking on green-and-clean has worked out for Spain and Germany.

Is the thought half-full or all the way empty?

Add California jobs: "California job climate stagnant in June"...

Serpentine (or is it a case of "rocks for brains?")

Finally (for now), "this state's got rocks in its head": In a state with a current budget deficit topping $20 billion and with unfunded liabilities in the range of $650 billion-plus, you'd think state lawmakers would focus on important, pressing matters. State Sen. Gloria Romero (D-Los Angeles) is taking on this charge by trying to eliminate one of California's greatest threats - the state rock...aka: serpentine. A San Francisco Chronicle story explains that, "Serpentine is a metamorphic rock that...can be found in the Sierra Nevada foothills and in 42 of California's 58 counties. It was often found by miners near gold deposits. Fire-resistant chrysotile asbestos is one of 20 minerals that can often be found within the rock. Considered a wonder substance in the 1960s, asbestos was mined extensively for use in building construction, household appliances and for insulation. In 1965, lobbyists for the makers of asbestos products were among those who urged state legislators to recognize serpentine as the state rock. Romero sponsored the [new] bill - which would eliminate not only serpentine, but the entire state rock category - because, she said, California has the highest rate of mesothelioma deaths in the nation and it is inappropriate to celebrate the source of that disease. 'This isn't against serpentine. It's about asbestos,' Romero said. 'Why in a health-conscious state like California do we have a state rock that is related to asbestos? This is a teachable moment. It's time to be sensitive to the fact that people suffer and die from this substance. It's time to drop the rock as a symbol.'" Geologists, scientists, medical professionals and others all say serpentine poses absolutely no threat to anyone's health, whatsoever. But as they say in Sacramento, "never let facts stand in the way of politics."

Thursday, July 15, 2010

"Recovery Summer" or "The Summer of George?"

The president and his team have declared this the "Recovery Summer," which is actually beginning to look a lot more like the "The Summer of George."


Upon closer examination, though, it does seem to be a period of recovery - perhaps, however, not in the way the term's originators had intended.

Maybe it's "The Summer of Keith"...


Redefining "success": Despite all of Congress' "accomplishments" (aka: jamming unwanted legislation down the public's throat), voters don't seem all that impressed. I wonder why?

Add Congress: Despite all the bad news and troubling poll numbers, Madame Speaker is not worried...

Great news from the administration's efforts in the areas of housing and lending: "Mortgage applications hit 13-year low, foreclosures spiking"...

Add great news: Over at Hot Air, we learn that, "Factory output dropped by the largest amount in the past year, the Commerce Department announced yesterday." I'm guessing that information wasn't manufactured...

Make up your minds: A New York Times story reports "“The Federal Reserve disclosed on Wednesday that its chief policy makers were divided on whether the weak economy faced a new, potentially dangerous threat in the form of deflation." Folks, please - this "Summer" thing is never going to get off the ground if you can't agree on this stuff...

Recovering from the spill?: According to the Washington Examiner, "Democrats refused to allow a vote today on an amendment introduced today by Rep. Paul Broun, R-Ga., to ensure press access to the gulf oil spill. Broun's amendment was a response to numerous reports that government authorities and BP are keeping the press away from areas affected by the spill." How's that transparency working for ya?

Recovery in the Gulf: The Associated Press is reporting out of New Orleans that, "The oil has stopped. For now. After 85 days and up to 184 million gallons, BP finally gained control over one of America's biggest environmental catastrophes Thursday by placing a carefully fitted cap over a runaway geyser that has been gushing crude into the Gulf of Mexico since early spring." Whew!

Finally!

(This was, by the way, supposed to be The Summer of George...)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The political meaning of the National League's All Star Game win?



What are the political ramifications of last night's All Star Game victory by the National League over the American League, 3-1?

"National League victory has preceded each of the nine election cycles with double-digit GOP gains in U.S. House since 1950; All-Star classic also prescient of big partisan swings in U.S. Senate"...this according to Smart Politics (the blog of the Center for the Study of Politics and Governance at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs).

(h/t: Taegan Goddard's Political Wire)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Surprised/not surprised...

Just a few quick notes regarding recent developments here at home and around the world…all worth paying attention to…

A report in the Wall Street Journal details the further deterioration of the situation in Afghanistan. In a story that seems more farcical than real, officials have revealed that “U.S. Support for Power Plant in Afghanistan Benefits the Taliban.” It goes on to say that, “Since U.S.-funded repairs of a turbine at an Afghanistan power plant doubled its capacity in October, nearly half of the total electrical output has flowed to districts where the Taliban administer the grid, Afghan officials say.” Apparently, the Taliban doesn’t have to win this fight – we just have to keep shooting ourselves in the foot.

And you thought your utility company was tough...

From close behind to edging ahead: According to Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire, “A new SurveyUSA poll in California finds Carly Fiorina (R) edging Sen. Barbara Boxer (D) in the U.S. Senate race, 47% to 45%, a lead which is within the poll's four point margin of error. Key finding: The poll found twice as many Democrats cross-over to vote Republican as Republicans who cross-over to vote Democrat in the race.” Likewise, Goddard adds, “A new SurveyUSA poll in California finds Meg Whitman (R) leading Jerry Brown (D) by seven points among likely voters in the race for governor, 46% to 39%. Key finding: Whitman gets 77% of Republican voters, while Brown gets the support of 64% of Democrats. Independents break by a 5-4 margin for Whitman.” Suddenly, a whole bunch of folks are sitting up and paying attention…

Leading ladies...

Out of touch? Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) had an, um, “interesting” reply when asked about illegal immigrants working in his home state by a reporter from the Las Vegas CBS affiliate. "When you go to the unemployment office there's many U.S. citizens who are unemployed construction workers and they don't have jobs because right now, some of those construction companies find it easier to hire undocumented workers," said Reporter Nathan Baca. "I think that any information you have in that regard is absolutely without foundation," responded Reid. "That may be someplace, but it is not here in Nevada." You can see the report here.


Losing touch...

RIP: George Steinbrenner, the bĂȘte noire of every Red Sox fan (and decent human being) passed away today. He was 80. We won’t bother with an obit – that’s what print guys get paid to do. Instead, here’s the one great thing he did:

Some thoughts on "the Beautiful Game"...and America

The '94 World Cup that is...

I've been looking for this piece written for the World Cup the U.S. hosted in 1994. More15 years later (especially after watching the final match on Sunday), the op-ed seems to have stood the test of time...
June 30, 1994

Why Americans Will Never Love Soccer

By Jeff Bliss

THE TRUTH IS, we Americans will never go crazy about the game of soccer. And without sounding too much like Joe McCarthy, I have to say soccer is un-American.

Let me explain. Soccer is not about anything Americans appreciate. The very fact that it's called football elsewhere enrages enough red meat gridiron fans to keep soccer from ever being popular here.

First, real football players must weigh as much as an Army tank and wear twice as much protective armor. Soccer players run around in little more than their underwear. Americans like equipment: first-baseman's mitts, helmets, Kareem's eye goggles. Soccer has precious little of this.

Second, we didn't invent the game. OK, you think you're smart because you know about baseball's ties to cricket and American football's ties to rugby. The truth is we took these games and improved upon them. Soccer, on the other hand, belongs to the world (like the metric system).

Suggestions from the United States to modify soccer, such as allowing eye gouging and body slams, have been largely ignored. If it ain't ours and if it can't hurt you, we don't want it. (Suggestions to return the game to its pre-Columbian roots, with the losing team facing execution, have also been dismissed.)


Third, and most importantly, sports symbolize a people. As an example, let us compare baseball and soccer. Soccer is the perfect metaphor for the rest of the world. Now forget about calling me on my xenophobia. Baseball, our national pastime, is the story of individuals banding together for a common goal. Everyone has the same chance to be a hero or a goat, and every player has a specialized skill used for the good of the team. The examples, like baseball statistics, go on ad nauseam. Believe me.

Soccer, on the other hand, is about a bunch of guys who wander around a field chasing a ball. It is a game of turnovers. I've got the ball. No, now you've got the ball. No, I have the ball. No, you have . . . well, you get the idea. We don't like that in a sport or anything else in our lives. We want stability.

The rest of the world, however, thrives on guessing games. Three past winners of the World Cup -- Italy, Germany and Argentina -- are good examples of this. Since World War II, Italy has had how many governments? A bizillion? (I may be undershooting.) Germany can't decide if it loves or hates itself, and Argentina's national sport, after futbol (as they call it), is the coup d'etat.

One more thing. Soccer, played on a field only slightly smaller than the continent of Asia, is ridiculously low scoring, and tie games are not unusual (I bet those guys would hustle a little more if their necks were really on the line). We like scoring. We like it so much, we made touchdowns worth six points! A total of six points in a soccer game is usually regarded as scandalous (no one ever worries about a juiced-up ball in soccer). I know what I'm talking about. During my short-lived career as a high school and college soccer player, I scored a total of one goal -- just a few short of what most pro players score during their entire careers. (OK, so it was against my own team . . .)

And please don't mention youth soccer. I know all about its overwhelming popularity -- I played it. But the secret is that youth soccer is a conspiracy of parents across the nation. Get those youngsters out there running their heads off for an hour or more on Saturday mornings and they're less likely to raise hell around the house on Saturday afternoons. I know all about it -- I'm going to make my kids play it.

All kidding aside, soccer is a great game.

It's just not our game.