Thursday, October 12, 2017

"nanny nanny boo boo"

Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile, "Blue Cheese"

Bladerunner 2049 opened here in lovely South Korea today, and I should be able to get to the theater tomorrow.  Dennis Villeneuve can do no wrong as far as I'm concerned.

Meanwhile, here's a song from the perfectly pleasant new collaboration between Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile.  And hey, that's Janet Weiss on drums.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

More On Why Soccer Doesn't Work In America

This whole article from 2016 (!) is worth reading as it really digs into the cultural and economic factors inhibiting the creation of a more successful national men's soccer squad in the U.S., but this part stood out:
"Economics work against the poor kids in American soccer. Lusson sees this every week as he moves between the teenage girls team he coaches in the wealthy San Francisco enclave of Pacific Heights, and the teams he manages in lower-income Hayward. One night, a few weeks ago, he listened as girls on the Pacific Heights team talked excitedly about applications to elite east coast colleges. The next day, in Hayward, nobody talked about college.
And yet he is amazed by the skill of his Hayward players, who he says would crush the Pacific Heights team in a match. These are the players who could be the future of American soccer, perhaps even rising as high as a national team. But he also knows that the Pacific Heights players will be the ones to play on their college teams and will be identified by US Soccer. They are the ones who will get a chance that the Hayward kids won’t. And this strikes Lusson as very wrong."
I'd only add that genuine skill in basketball, American football, and these days to a lesser extent baseball, are still possible golden tickets out of poverty.  It's a shame soccer can't seem to catch on as a "real" sport in my home country.

And with the disaster in Trinidad, it really feels like we're stepping back a few decades.  And to beat my dead horsie, Klinsmann got us to the round of 16 a mere three years ago.  That seems about the best result possible with the talent ceiling we have now, and encouraging U.S. players to go to Europe was the right thing to do.

Life Goals

Tampopo trailer

I've still got more pics from Tokyo to sort through and put up but for now I'm closing in on one of my serious life goals.  As much as I love sushi, as much as I love takoyaki (octopus balls!), I think my real Japanese food passion is -- to risk cliche -- ramen.

Now, Korea has plenty of ram-yon, but it's pretty much universally salty and bland.  I will very occasionally have a small cup of it with lunch in the winter, but that's about it.

Japanese ramen, however, is heavenly.  It's no secret that real Japanese ramen has a lot of love and work put in to make the broth earthy and rich, while Korean ramyon almost always starts off with a water base.  Japanese ramen is a humble food that has grown up to achieve greatness.  Korean ramyon never made that precocious leap into culinary adulthood.

Anyhow, I've put the word out to my adult students that Teacher James is desperate to find good ramen in Daegu.  On Twitter, I learned that Seoul has no shortage of great places for the Japanese style but they can pound sand.  I've learned so far that a nearby neighborhood has a good joint, as does the huge Hyundai Department Store downtown.  (Not surprising, since their food court also has very good Indian and Italian.)

Daegu winters can be cold and bleak affairs.  I want -- need -- my ramen / umami fix over the coming months.

This Is My Not Happy Face

I liked Klinsmann.  But it made sense when he left, as it seems like he'd lost the team.

But bringing on Arena?  Moving backwards, literally if not figuratively?  Huge mistake.

And so it goes.

Monday, October 9, 2017

"crack up in the sun / lose it in the shade"

The Replacements, "Hold My Life" live

I'm very stoked for this reissue, The Replacements live in '86 just before they "made it" with a major label.

One of the things I really enjoyed about Trouble Boys was that it managed to solve a great mystery for any Replacements fan -- they were, according to many, either the very very best or god-awfully shocking worst live band they'd ever seen.  In fact, the first live videos I ever saw of them had them playing pretty damn tight (even Bob!).  Turns out, Paul and the guys kind of decided before going on stage whether or not they'd put on a good show.  And of course, even mid-show they might decide to ruin it all if they didn't like the crowd or, if the stars aligned or the coke and pills and drinks were particularly good, they might decide to actually give a fuck and actually perform at their best.

Anyhow, a lot of these tracks sound awesome.

Tokyo Pics Two

Shinjuku -- fortune teller and "Robot Restaurant"

Akihabara -- Mario racers

Ueno -- Tokyo zoo

Tokyo Pics

Tokyo, Japan -- Kabuki-cho, Shinjuku

Meiji Shrine -- votives

Yoyogi Park -- graffiti

Shinjuku -- conveyor belt sushi