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Zizou the Butthead

It was about 111 minutes into the World Cup championship match that the star player for France, Zinedine "Zizou" Zidane, playing in the last match of his career, got into a little contretemps with an Italian player, a verbal scuffle, a bit of unpleasant repartee, and decided to, as they say in France, open up a can of whup-ass on the lad. I've scanned the stories and still haven't read an explanation of what got Zidane's knickers into such a knot. But what we know is what we saw: Zidane stepped toward the Italian player, lowered his head, and rammed him in the chest. A headbutt for the ages. A header to the sternum. In American football this is known as spearing. It was an utterly appalling act of violence that, according to commentators, tarnished Zidane's great career in its closing moments.

It also raised the serious question: Do soccer players not know how to fight with their hands?

Perhaps Zidane thought that a headbutt would be forgiveable compared to a right cross. I've watched enough sports for 10 men, and in all those long hours in front of the tube I've never seen anyone do what Zizou did. This was like Tyson biting off a piece of Holyfield's ear: Not even close to being kosher. Outside of boxing, it doesn't occur to most athletes to use their head as a fighting appendage. The head contains the brain, in most people. There are sports in which the head is considered so precious and vulnerable that the athlete actually wears a helmet. In America, that kind of situation calls for a direct shove to the chest, or a quick head-slap, or just a chest-to-chest huffing-and-grunting stare-down. But Zizou looked like he was trying to kill the Italian fellow (future trivia answer: "Marco Materazzi"). He looked like he was trying to stop the fellow's heart.

My friend John, the soccer fiend, whose idea of a good time is to fake me out on the soccer field and dribble the ball through my legs while laughing demonically, declared that Zizou's headbutt was defensible if the Italian player said something sufficiently offensive and horrible (your-mama-wears-Army-boots sort of thing).

But it seemed to end France's chance to win the Cup. I personally had to change allegiance from France to Italy at that moment, which, who knows, may have influenced the outcome. France had outplayed Italy throughout the second half. Zizou had nearly scored just a few minutes earlier on a header that the brilliant Italian goal keeper, Buffon, deflected over the crossbar. Italy had gone into defensive lockdown, hoping merely to run out the clock and get to penalty kicks. France still had another 10 minutes to score the winning goal. But when Zizou got the heave-ho, the life seemed to go out of the entire match. I don't care what the Italian player said: In crunch time, if you're Zizou, you have to keep your head. To yourself.

The International Herald Tribune didn't approve of Zizou's headbutt. The New York Times called it shameful.

[This comment by your blogger, regarding the new icon, was gobbled up by the Schemer's comment-bot, so I am posting it directly in the kit, where there are no standards:

It's the blogalumphagus that Richard Thompson drew for the column that ran almost a year ago, on "the Tail that Wags the Blog."

I will miss the World Cup. It was a GREAT way to goof off during working hours. Fortunately the next World Cup will be in South Africa, which will mean a similar sort of schedule, though some of us will have been fired by then and will be watching from home, in our drawers.

I thought the PK ending was highly unsatisfactory. You should have to win the Cup with all the players on the field, competing at full tilt. The way soccer decides these matches with PKs is like breaking a tie at the U.S. Open golf championship with a pitch-and-putt "closest to the hole" contest.]

By Joel Achenbach  |  July 10, 2006; 7:19 AM ET
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Next: How to Write a Guest Kit on Achenblog


I think the Italian uniforms included a small soccer ball logo in the chest area...

Perhaps a case of late-match heat exhaustion with associated delusions? He was replaying that header in his mind and his body mistook that for instructions?


Posted by: Scottynuke | July 10, 2006 8:15 AM | Report abuse

Your friend fakes [sic] you out on the soccer field?

[Fake me out to the ball game . . .]

Posted by: Tom fan | July 10, 2006 8:15 AM | Report abuse

I find your description of these appalling events disturbing. What do you mean "change allegiance." Are you suggesting that you ever opposed those good, kind-hearted and olive-cheeked Italian lads?

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 10, 2006 8:17 AM | Report abuse

I guess this is why they high-stick in hockey and bean the batter in baseball. You work with what you know. Let's just hope this sort of thing never reaches civilized sports like curling. Can you imagine the mayhem caused by a curling stone heaved in anger?

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 10, 2006 8:20 AM | Report abuse

I know this is a terrible thing to say, but after the head-butting incident, I was secretly hoping for the fans to get in a brawl. Shame on me!

Posted by: Pat | July 10, 2006 8:23 AM | Report abuse

It's good to know bad sportsmanship is alive and well. I was eating in The Hill neighborhood of St Louis yesterday which is a Little Italy type of area with lots of family owned restaurants. One couple claimed they had gotten off the interstate just to see the game. They moved from a table to a bar to get a better view of the table.

I'm sure the partisans there agreed with the outcome. Couldn't they have skipped the first two hours and gone straight to the kicking contest? It's like giving the NBA championship away to the team with the best free throw shooter.

Posted by: yellojkt | July 10, 2006 8:24 AM | Report abuse

In case you missed the action, here's a video clip of the thuggery:

Posted by: Pixel | July 10, 2006 8:28 AM | Report abuse

No, Tom Fan, he "fakes me out." He fakes me. He is a big faker. Doesn't that line make sense?

Posted by: Achenbach | July 10, 2006 8:34 AM | Report abuse

I believe the insult that prompted the incident was "Your Mamma smells like a bullfrog".

Posted by: Pat | July 10, 2006 8:35 AM | Report abuse

Like Maradona's hand in Mexico, everyone will talk about this for years and years. All in all, I thought there was enough bad sportsmanship to last three World Cups. Stomping on groins, elbows to the face, faking injuries, too bad.

The Colombian singer Juanes compared soccer to a religion after his concert in Germany. He said it brings out the best in all of us and unites us in peace. I'd like to hear the players' opinion on that.

Posted by: a bea c | July 10, 2006 8:37 AM | Report abuse

Ah, I get it.
I am a maroon.

Posted by: Tom fan | July 10, 2006 8:40 AM | Report abuse

Some day Materazzi may make tons of money by telling a reporter what exactly he said to Zizou. French athletes of North African origins are often called some ugly names by coaches, players, and fans. I hope the comment had nothing to do with camels or turbans. Still, Joel is right. Keep your head to yourself.

Posted by: a bea c | July 10, 2006 8:41 AM | Report abuse

Here is a better view if you missed it:

Posted by: Alexf | July 10, 2006 8:44 AM | Report abuse

I've read a couple of French papers earlier. Zizou is mute about the incident. He hasn't talked about it even to his teammates. He isn't proud of his behaviour, obviously. He is known to blow a gasket once in a while. At the 1998 world cup he got the red card for stomping on a Saudi player. That wasn't an accident at all, he tatooed the guy in the ugliest way. He came back from his suspension roaring, leading France to the top. It's going the other way this time.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | July 10, 2006 8:51 AM | Report abuse

This guy tops a head-butter...;_ylt=AgBGOkhGqoyxbeuOuWCejqms0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTA3NW1oMDRpBHNlYwM3NTc-

Posted by: 1st_timer | July 10, 2006 8:53 AM | Report abuse

I could knock you down with my hands tied behind my back!

Could not!

Could so!

Could not!


Posted by: ot | July 10, 2006 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Joel writes:
But Zizou looked like he was trying to kill the Italian fellow (future trivia answer: "Marco Materazzi").

Always two sides to every story (so we hardly yet have the details in which to fully assess the weekend's incident/Joel's Kit):

Materazzi has a well-earned reputation as nasty player in Italy's tough Serie A, and his role in the ugly drama was nowhere near as surprising as Zidane's.

He was suspended for two months in 2004 after punching an opponent and conceded earlier in the tournament, "I can't tell you how many times my kids have been told at school that I'm a monster."

"You make mistakes in life," Materazzi added. "But then you have to purify yourself, without seeking revenge. Everyone has their destiny."

Materazzi has also been involved in several controversial incidents during his time at Inter. He was suspended two months for punching Siena's Bruno Cirillo after a Serie A match.[2] He was also involved in an incident with Messina player Marc Zoro, from the Ivory Coast. In a game against Inter, Zoro was subjected to monkey chants and other racial attacks throughout the match. Zoro picked up the ball and began to walk off the pitch in disgust. He explained that "[i]t was the classic treatment of black players in Italy - it happens all over the country, Lazio fans being the worst." While Inter players Adriano and Obafemi Martins persuaded him to stay, and club owner Massimo Moratti praised Zoro as "an intelligent man who acted in a brave and intelligent way," Materazzi told Zoro, "stop that, Zoro, you're just trying to make a name for yourself." Zoro later stated that "I didn't even argue with him, I've no intention of lowering myself to that level." [3]



Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2006 9:56 AM | Report abuse

"The head contains the brain, in most people."

Couldn't that sentence be improved to "In women, the head contains the brain; physical placement in men varies. Regardless, men apparently have removable brains, and frequently leave them at home on the dresser when dealing with women or sports."

Just somehow seems more accurate that way.

Posted by: LostInThought | July 10, 2006 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Sorry you 9:56 poster, I don't buy it. The earliest lesson we teach children is not to hit, which, I assert, includes head buts. The "he had it coming" excuse doesn't wash.

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 10, 2006 10:07 AM | Report abuse

The final reaffirmed my belief that soccer's popularity in the US will increase only when broadcasting evolves away from its commercial-based business model. Soccer simply doesn't allow for 30-second commercials during the halves, which is too long for networks to wait. I think this is the primary reason for the American public's enduring disinterest in professional soccer--it isn't marketed on TV because it isn't profitable on TV. Like Deep Throat taught us, follow the money.

We're closer than we know to breaking away from the traditional broadcasting business model. High-speed internet, wireless connectivity, etc. turning all TV into, in effect, pay-per-view. Which could be a much more consumer-friendly way to make programming available. Of course, we've been "on the verge" of this switch since I left the cable TV biz 15 years ago.

The other thing remarkable thing about the final was the terrible ABC halftime show. Brent Musburger makes my skin crawl, and it's hard for me to imagine Jim McKay's piece being any more pointless. Fer cryin' out loud, it's only the biggest sporting event in the world. Is it so hard to give us something that's either informative or meaningful?

Not that I'm looking for a reprise of the even more hideous Super Bowl halftime, with or without wardrobe malfunctions...

Posted by: silvertongue | July 10, 2006 10:26 AM | Report abuse

I thought I heard on the radio this morning that the reason Zizou headbutted Materazzi (oh, the tempattion to call him Maserati is SOOO strong) was that earlier, Materazzi had hooked Zizou's arm, etc. (In other words, it wasn't payback for trash-talking, but actually a physical thing.) That of course doesn't make it anything close to "right" or "he-had-it-coming." Zizou was stupid because he took himself out of the game, and probably cost his team the World Cup. Dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb, whether Materazzi had it coming or not.

On WaPo radio this morning John Feinstein had two pretty interesting things to say. First, he said, every now and again an athlete does something totally insane-- he cited Mike Tyson biting Evander Holyfield's ear, which certainly qualifies. And there's that famous brawl in basketball (OK, which brawl? But yes, there are several to chose from, but the Pacers' Ron Artest going into the stands is the main one). Zizou was a classic example.

The other thing he said was, soccer has a really dumb way of breaking ties and deciding championships--that shoot-out thing. He said it would be like, after the 12th inning of the last game of the World Series, if they stop playing and held a home run derby to decide the winner, or if after one quarter of overtime in the Super Bowl, they stopped play and brought out the field goal kickers for a field-goal-kicking contest to decide the winner. That would not only be bizarre, but the fans would never approve of it in a million years. So why are soccer games decided by anything other than playing soccer? Feinstein's dead right; it's nuts.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 10, 2006 10:57 AM | Report abuse

There is a terrible beauty in sudden death overtime. Nothing like the period in which the game (of any sport) has got to about double normal length to see some real effort.

What IS with Zidane going for the headbutt instead of a good ole haymaker? (BTW: impress your friends - the colloquial expression for headbutt is "Glasgow/Glaswegian Kiss"). In the distant future will soccer players look like Tyrannosaurs?

Posted by: SonofCarl | July 10, 2006 11:09 AM | Report abuse

BTW, I've never thought that the locus of the brain in the human male "varied" very much at all. Seems to me it has always resided pretty much in the same three locations: the heart, the stomach, and, er....that other place further south. Why brain surgeons and neuranatomists spend all that time fooling around with cerebellums, cortexes, lobes and thalamuseseseses is a mystery to me (maybe that's why it's a mystery to them, too).

Perhaps the solution to the question of male thought patterns would be to combine the disciplines of gastronomy and proctology.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 10, 2006 11:18 AM | Report abuse

For the finals (and probably for all the elimination rounds) they should keep playing until someone scores. After 1 or 2 15-minute periods, go to the "golden goal" style. The decline in quality of play will be more than offset by the intensity of the drama.

If Desmond Morris was right and soccer is blood sport/proxy for war, then we should have the warriors struggle 'till a victor is found.

Posted by: silvertongue | July 10, 2006 11:20 AM | Report abuse

most fans hate this shoot-out business but the game has to end at one point. It's like having a NFL football game decided by kicking field goals, it's just silly.
Hopefully Zidane will be a man, come out and say unequivocally that he's done something really stupid and grovel a bit. He is such a role model for young players, he must get out of his silence and come clean. Whatever Maserati or Ferrari said it wasn't worth a head butt ! Henri said that not having Z with them in the last 9 minutes didn't really sunk the team, players are not bitter about it.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | July 10, 2006 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Mudge - Personally I favor "rock paper scissors" as a tie breaker.

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 10, 2006 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Also, I take umbrage at the notion that we men do not have brains in our heads. We do. It's just that, for a variety of reasons, the blood has been known to flow away from it.

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 10, 2006 11:34 AM | Report abuse

I agree with Padouk, my brain stays in my head. Its just sometimes it gets overtaken by substances flowing from other organs. The male brain lacks chemical resistance, that's all.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | July 10, 2006 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Well, Padouk and Shriek, you may be right. I just think the heart/stomach/johnson theory works equally as well.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 10, 2006 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Clearly the judging for top player stressed talent over personality. (And evening wear was right out.)

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 10, 2006 11:47 AM | Report abuse

In the "You read it in the boodle first" category:
Zidane's agent talked to the BBC, quoted in l'Équipe:
Zidane will talk about the incident in a few days; he doesn't want to talk about it now. Materazzi said something very serious (seriously injurious ? my bad translating skills) but he didn't tell me what it is. He is a man that usually let that kind of things go, but Sunday night something exploded in him. He is disappointed and sad. He didn't want the Cup to end on something like that.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | July 10, 2006 11:58 AM | Report abuse

silvertongue, "Follow the money" was supposedly never uttered by DT to Woodward or perhaps any other WaPo staff member (including JA) as Woodward never found the quote in his copious notes from his numerous underground DT tete-a-tetes. The quote was inserted into the movie "All The President's Men" for drama, and, oh, how dramatic it was....

Speaking of headbutts, how about that number that Rothlesburger pasted on that windshield? Let's see if Zasu can survive en tango en automobile... Americans like to throw things anyway, this foot and head thing is mesozoic. "DUH - KICK BALL WITH FOOT - DUH."

Posted by: farfrombeltway | July 10, 2006 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Anyone else notice the new graphic for Achenblog?

Posted by: SonofCarl | July 10, 2006 12:14 PM | Report abuse

And where was Ray Nagin's brain?

Why did the Regional Transit Authority buses sit idle on Chickasaw St.?
Why was the fleet of yellow school buses padlocked away on Metropolitan Street?
Why weren't all the buses that were available used to evacuate large numbers of folks?
Why was nothing in New Orleans mobilized?
Why weren't National Guard troops in proper hurricane position?
Why wasn't there a high-tech hurricane command center?
Why weren't rescue helicopters and evacuation buses standing by on the periphery of the storm, ready to swoop down and rescue Superdome evacuees and the poor when Katrina passed?
--Stone Phillips of NBC's Dateline, during the Katrina disaster

Why was Nagin stuck with incomplete evacuation plans, ones he never prioritized to completion?
Why didn't the mayor's office accept the telephone call from Amtrak which was an offer to evacuate people in empty passenger cars leaving New Orleans?
Why were there no signs around the city (unlike Miami Beach) clearly marking sites where evacuation buses would pick people up?
Why was there no contract with the bus drivers' union after a year's time?

"Nagin didn't have a disaster plan 'because he was the real disaster.'"
Marc Morial, former mayor and head of the National Urban League

Yes, Cassandra, it was *real bad*. You get the government you deserve simply by putting into office the people for whom you vote.

Posted by: Loomis | July 10, 2006 12:19 PM | Report abuse

If I head-butted someone, the victim might not even notice it, and I would probably come away with a stiff neck. Zidane had a lifetime of header training behind him when he butted Materazi. In the videotaping, you can see the sternum give way to the force. Still, I'm sure Materazi "flopped" to get the ref's attention.

Posted by: muon | July 10, 2006 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Woohoo!! We're takin' JA for a ride in the new graphic!


Posted by: Scottynuke | July 10, 2006 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Here's the timeline of Katrina events from the back of historian Douglas Brinkley's book:

Tuesday, August 30

As of Tuesday morning, people with nowhere else to go flock to the Convention Center; by the end of the day, there will be 20,000 inside. Patients and staff members are stranded in New Orleans hospitals, all but one of which are without power, and conditions are deteriorating. Six hundred are stuck in Charity Hospital (250 patients and 350 others), 1,200 in Tulane University Medical Center (160 patients, 1,040 others--and 76 pets), 2,000 in Truro Infirmary (250 patients and 1,750 others), 650 in Methodist Hospital (150 patients and 500 others), and 2,060 in Memorial Medical Center (260 patients and 1,800 others). Eight oil refineries in Louisiana have ceased operation. They account for 8 percent of America's refining capacity. Most offshore drilling operations are also shut down; 89 percent of production has been suspended.

1:30 a.m.: The boiler room at Tulane University Hospital, which houses the emergency generators, fills with water. Within three hours, all power is out.

3:00 a.m.: When the power fails at Methodist Hospital, volunteers, including some children, replace ventilator machines by hand-pumping air into the lungs of ailing patients, hour after hour.

6:00 a.m.: The area around the Superdome and New Orleans City Hall, which had been dry on Monday, is under 3 feet of steadily rising water.

7:00 a.m.: President Bush, in San Diego, is told of the severity of the crisis along the Gulf Coast. He is advised to end his six-week vacation early and he agrees. After finishing his appearances in California, he will return to his ranch in Texas and then return to Washington on Wednesday. In later statements, he maintains that as of Tuesday morning, he was informed that New Orleans had "dodged the bullet."

8:00 a.m.: The number of National Guard troops on the ground in the disaster zones of their respective states is nearly 3,800 in Louisiana, more than 1,900 in Mississippi, and 800 in Alabama. In addition, Alabama has sent specialists to assist Mississippi.

Brown's interview with Adaora Udoji was August 30:

Brown: Is there a noticeable -- on the streets, is there a noticeable National Guard presence?

Udoji: We have heard that they are here. (Says who? What authentic source or hearsay--or someone's visual sighting? Did you talk to [name] from what authoritative source [agency]? This reply is troublesome.)

Posted by: Loomis | July 10, 2006 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Loomis, let it go. Unless you just want to drive ALL of us away. Have some fun. Enjoy the soccer talk. Take a deep breath, smile, and realize that Nagin will be mayor despite your rants.

Now that's a rant. Cassandra, take notes for future rants.

Posted by: a bea c | July 10, 2006 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Now we know how Joel is going to France. Does that thing swim?

Posted by: a bea c | July 10, 2006 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Could someone please do something about this dead horse? I'm afraid if it gets kicked again the Boodle may die of nausea.

Posted by: martooni | July 10, 2006 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Love the new graphic. It's all, like metaphorical and stuff.

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 10, 2006 12:46 PM | Report abuse

I'm going to miss JA's mug at the top of the page. It's actually gone from ALL the old kits 'n boodles. Very Ministry of Truth.

The cartoon is appropriate, however.

Posted by: SonofCarl | July 10, 2006 12:46 PM | Report abuse

The alternative theories all sound plausable to me. And to be fair, we women can do some brainless things sometimes. Somehow though, they seem more like aberrations.

Posted by: LostInThought | July 10, 2006 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Somebody call Dooley real fast to identify that boodlebeast JA is riding.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | July 10, 2006 12:47 PM | Report abuse

The brutishness of this Kit just bores me to tears:

In the seventh minute, Zidane put France ahead, 1-0, on a penalty kick, becoming only the fourth player to score in two World Cup finals. But he apparently grew frustrated after narrowly missing a goal on a header in overtime and at being roughed up by Italy's rugged defense. He frequently complained to the referee but was told to play on.

In the 109th minute, Materazzi and Zidane seemed to tangle inconsequentially for position, with Materazzi having his arm on Zidane or grabbing him slightly. As the two walked upfield, the players spoke to each other. Then Zidane turned around, approached Materazzi and head-butted him in the sternum.

Posted by: Loomis | July 10, 2006 12:49 PM | Report abuse

why it worked: the french thug butted him in the sternum (ie the solar plexus) do it with your head..your fist etc and you'll usually knock the guy down because of the nerve overload.
what i don't understand are all those head to head butts in action movies. why does the "good" guy always puts the "bad" guy down?

Posted by: stephen | July 10, 2006 12:51 PM | Report abuse

I heard that Materazzi insulted him with a racist comment (Zidane is Algerian) and also called him a terrorist. Whatever he said would not be surprising coming from a classless Italian like Materazzi.

No matter what was said, Zidane shouldn't have done what he did, and the end result was a shame. Zidane was one of the greatest soccer players ever. You never would want a player of that stature to go out of the game under those circumstances. It would be the American equivilent of Michael Jordan punching a player, and being ejected, in his final game.

I am not a fan of the French team, but admire and still respect the talented Zidane. I hope that people remember him for his mastery of the beautiful game and not for a severly regrettable and tragic mistake he made.

Posted by: BT | July 10, 2006 12:51 PM | Report abuse

It kinda looks like one of the beasts from "Where the Wild Things Are". Put a crown on Joel and dress him up in a wolf costume, then the "wild rumpus" can really get going. ;-)

Posted by: martooni | July 10, 2006 12:52 PM | Report abuse

i/Flatfootus Bloggus, var. boodleii/i ?

Suggestion for a name anyone ?

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | July 10, 2006 12:53 PM | Report abuse

interesting triva facts:

This is only the second time in the 60 year history of world cup soccer that didn't have either Brazil or Germany in the final. The last time was 1978 when Argentina beat the Netherlands 3-1 in Argentina.

Also, the first involving no South American team since 1982, when Italy beat West Germany 3-1.

Posted by: omni | July 10, 2006 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Offtopica Commentus?

Posted by: martooni | July 10, 2006 1:02 PM | Report abuse

The beast does have a Maurice Sendak look about it. Yet the tip of the tail seems slightly demonic, but in friendly sort of way. I think, though, that the true meaning of the piece is found in an examination of Joel. Look at the panic in the eyes. One cannot fake that look. It is doubtless drawn from life.

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 10, 2006 1:03 PM | Report abuse

What?! New graphic? All I see is the same one, except that Joel's head is a little smushed. It's looking even more oblong than usual, but maybe that's just the humidity.

Posted by: jw | July 10, 2006 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Joel, yes, soccer players know how to fight with their hands like eveybody else, in case you're interested, and yes, they can beat the **** out of anybody, in case you need to know. Some news mentioned that Materazzi actually insulted Zidane's sister calling her a w**re, this according with people experts in reading lips, it was a foolish reaction?, yes. But for those quick to criticize you need to understand that in the heat of a game when the adrenaline rushes, emotions are high it is really hard to keep your cool especially when a moron insults your family. We are humans after all, prone to mistakes.

Posted by: Americano | July 10, 2006 1:05 PM | Report abuse

The Schemer's bot ate my comment so I took drastic action and posted it directly to the end of the (filterless) kit. That'll show that bot!

Posted by: Achenbach | July 10, 2006 1:09 PM | Report abuse

jw - hit refresh.

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 10, 2006 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Materazzi has a history of being a racist in Italy's world of soccer.
It does appear as if Materazzi said something to Zidane--who is French of Algerian origin--and Zidane lost it.
Is it justifiable what Zidane did?
But one has to understand that the racist comments are offensive and really diminish the integrity of those who suffer them as people of Arab origins suffer them every day, especially in Europe, and it does push them over the top.
Zidane was wrong in what he did, but it does not change the fact that he still is one of the finest players of soccer that the world has ever seen or will see for many decades to come.

Posted by: Ed | July 10, 2006 1:10 PM | Report abuse

That's not panic, RD, that's pride. Joel's eyes are glazed with pride as he surveys his Boodle.

I was struck watching the Zidane tape (thanks for the links, all) by the deliberation involved. We see Materazzi grasp Zidane's arms; he shakes him off; Materazzi says something. Zidane walks on briefly, then turns around and attacks Materrazi. Yes, he was probably acting under the influence of some strong emotion, possibly brought on by some unforgivable insult exacerbated by what sounds like a frustrating game to that point. Yes, I ascribe to that "left his brain at home" theory in general. Even so, Zidane chose to commit assault and battery (sorry, professional assessment). His head didn't just swing around and go for the sternum all by itself.

Like I tell the boy, life offers endless possibilities for bad choices. This was one. I hope, for his reputation and status as a role model, that he eventually apologizes rather than trying to justify himself, no matter what the provocation was.

Posted by: Ivansmom | July 10, 2006 1:14 PM | Report abuse

"fakes me out"

In hockey in Canada that is called "deeking," as in "he deeked the goalie."

Posted by: Ken | July 10, 2006 1:17 PM | Report abuse

1st_timer has a link at 08:53 AM to a rugby player who had to answer nature's call on the sidelines. According to the article, he was discreet, but we're talking rugby here so who knows what that means.

Anyway, what do you think the bike riders in the Tour and other long stage-races do? When a rider needs to take "un naturel", either a group will stop and they'll go en masse, or if that's not possible, they have to do it 'on the fly'. Tricky little maneuver, that-- especially with the lycra. It is an unwritten rule that riders do not take advantage of another's need to go. That would be a serious breach of etiquette.

Weingarten's got nothing on us.

Posted by: Pixel | July 10, 2006 1:17 PM | Report abuse

I don't think the bot likes the name of the beast Joel used. It got spit back twice.

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 10, 2006 1:17 PM | Report abuse

BT, in a 12:51 posting, said: "Whatever he said would not be surprising coming from a classless Italian like Materazzi."

If you had said "classless jerk", I would have taken it for granted that you spoke with some authority, at least the authority that comes from regularly yelling at the TV during sporting events. Even swamp-dwelling snails watch more TV sports than me, so I take their molluscal word for it when they describe a particularly splendid bit of gastropodal footwork. The choice of "classless Italian," however, sounds like mere bigotry. If you must denigrate the man, and I have no idea whether he deserves it or how much, aim higher and insult his behavior and abilities on the field, not some imagined endemic defect based on his nationality.

Posted by: Tim | July 10, 2006 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Yep. That's it. Evidently the beast's name is considered an awful profanity Hal the Schemer.

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 10, 2006 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Americano, I think you're wrong about "But for those quick to criticize you need to understand that in the heat of a game when the adrenaline rushes, emotions are high it is really hard to keep your cool especially when a moron insults your family." Adrenaline has nothing to do with it. The adrenaline level is no different (and no higher) in the World Cup than in any other active sport. You think Zidane's adrenaline level was any higher than Peyton Manning's in the playoffs? The mark of a great athlete is one who controls his ardrenealine level and channels it, not one who succumbs to it.

"In the heat of the game" is never a good excuse. Just about every game there is has a "in the heat of the game" moment, and players in many sports trash-talk each other. Admittedly it is getting worse and out-of-hand, but 99.999 percent of the time the trash talk DOESN'T result in an incident. Part of sports is learning how to ignore that crap and not let it get to you. "Insulting your family" is no worse than any other kind of insult, and calling one's sister a "wh0re" is especially silly. It's one step away from "your mama wears combat boots." If that's all it takes to beat the French, every player on every other team would do it all the time.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 10, 2006 1:24 PM | Report abuse

How to End a Soccer Game:
If tied at the end of regulation, each team is required to remove two players from the field, names given to the referee by each coach without knowing who the other team will be removing.
Play ten minutes, first goal wins.
If tied at the end of ten minutes, each team removes one more player.
Play five minutes, first goal wins.
Continue in five minute increments until a team scores.
This procedure would have two effects:
(1) open up the field to increase the chance of of a goal; (2) make teams less likely to get cautious as the end of regulation or an overtime period approaches because they think they would not have sufficient time to score if they gave up a goal at that point.

Posted by: Freeflow | July 10, 2006 1:25 PM | Report abuse

It's conceivable that g-a-l-u-m-p-h is what's bothering the bot. It's the gutteral version of h-a-r-u-m-p-h, IIRC.

Or perhaps just plain l-u-m-p, if the bot's a bit cancer-phobic (and who isn't???)


Posted by: Scottynuke | July 10, 2006 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Probably called him the name of Joel's Beast.

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 10, 2006 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Yes, the game has to end. But Feinstein's point, I thought, was correct: play the game to its end as it had been played from the beginning. Dance with who brung ya, so to speak. The game will end in that manner. Some baseball games have gone on interminably. 27 innings, but the game ended normally, not by Home Run Derby. That is how it should be.

Posted by: Slim | July 10, 2006 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Even if the creature has the scientific name B. Halschemerii, doesn't it need a common name? A name with ethnic roots, what it's called by the common folk of the region. A Gobbler? Muncherbot? Comment-eatin' Hairy Thang? Hugh?

Ooh-ooh! A Loper!

Posted by: ScienceTim | July 10, 2006 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Potential aliases for the Beast With No (Boodle) Name:

[Compsognathus, a chicken-sized predator with sharp teeth, is among my favorite dinosaurs.]

Posted by: ivansmom | July 10, 2006 1:28 PM | Report abuse

My friend Andres says there is talk that the Italian player twisted Zidane's nipple. In addition to the insult, whatever it was. Apparently Zidane wears nipple rings normally, but not during a game, presumably. I am just passing this along. I am just reporting.

Posted by: Achenbach | July 10, 2006 1:28 PM | Report abuse

RD, how appropriate! The blog that dares not speak it's name.

Ken, exactly. Although, it's "deking"; "deke" is actually in my Oxford dictionary.

Pixel, that sounds remarkably difficult. You would think that with all the many spectators that someone could get a photo of an en masse pee break in some French field. Now that would be a classic.

Ivansmom, have you ever seen any prosecutions for sports injuries? I've heard of a few civil actions; the standard seems to be whether the assault and battery varies significantly from the expected play of the game. For Zidane, completely understandable (esp if the rumors are correct); however, a weak moment in his professionalism and arguably actionable in law.

Posted by: SonofCarl | July 10, 2006 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm, apparently we really can't post the word B l o g a l u m p h a g u s. I tried twice, and got my first messages that my post was being held. I changed to the abbreviation B., and it went through just fine. I rather like the idea that the blog may be symbolized by a creature whose name is not permitted to be posted. Very Gödel-esque.

It might have accepted the name if it were in italics, like a proper scientific name, but, well, you know how that is. No italics possible.

Posted by: ScienceTim | July 10, 2006 1:30 PM | Report abuse


You would probably agree with me that Materazzi is an "Italian" and he is "Classless." Together they combine to be "Classless Italian."

Don't read into words too much, you might give yourself a headache.

Posted by: BT | July 10, 2006 1:31 PM | Report abuse

farfrombeltway: re your 12:04, that's it! The pittsburgh papers are missing the real story, that the driver of the car made some comment about Big Ben's sister. He flew into a rage, then head-butted the windshield.

I like the blog beast!

Posted by: silvertongue | July 10, 2006 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Curmudgeon, I am not endorsing Zidane's behavior, actually he fell for the oldest sport trick: trash-talking, personally I was in awe when I saw him buttheading the italian, had he controlled himself for two more minutes maybe history would have turned in favor of the Bleus. In any case this a case closed. See you guys in South Africa.

Posted by: Americano | July 10, 2006 1:33 PM | Report abuse

SonofCarl, I don't think I've ever seen a prosecution based on something occurring during the course of play at a sporting event. I've seen cases based on stuff that happens during the event. I agree that the incident (as we call them) would have to be well outside the normal scope of the play of the game. I wouldn't be at all surprised to see a prosecution, if a deliberate action resulted in serious injury.

Posted by: Ivansmom | July 10, 2006 1:34 PM | Report abuse

BT - Hey I wasn't the one complaining! That's Tim! Please, I can get myself into enough trouble on my own!!

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 10, 2006 1:37 PM | Report abuse

ivansmom - personally I like "Boodlesaurus Rex."

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 10, 2006 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Padouk, you are the classy Italian.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | July 10, 2006 1:40 PM | Report abuse

SoC, what was the incident where (I believe) some of the Flyers were going to be charged with assault in Toronto. Isn't that where the idea came from of the incident being over and above what would happen in a game?

Posted by: dmd | July 10, 2006 1:41 PM | Report abuse

For those disappointed in the PK outcome, offering up American style football (sudden death overtime) isn't especially satisfying. So much rides on that coin toss.

And comparisons to baseball's relentless innings isn't quite square -- each side gets to sit in the dugout for half an inning, hardly an exhausting activity. When was the last time you saw a baseball player suffering so badly from cramps they lay in rigor on the ground?

That said, I have to agree the kicks are anticlimactic. Continued overtimes with a golden goal outcome would be preferable.

Posted by: untethered | July 10, 2006 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Why the headbutt instead of the right cross?

1. Soccer players are far more used to using their heads than their hands (the go with what you know theory)
2. Zidane's shoulder injury may have made it impossible for him to throw the cross

Why did he do it?

Doubtful that it was in retaliation for his shoulder injury; replays prior to the butt show Zidane and Materazzi jawing back and forth at one another. Conjecture (at the moment, only Zidane and Materazzi know for sure) would be that Materazzi said something particularly nasty (most likely racial slur or two) and Zidane lost it.

Posted by: SoccerHooligan | July 10, 2006 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Thank you SD!

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 10, 2006 1:43 PM | Report abuse

What's a golden goal? He asks with some trepidation.

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 10, 2006 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Wait - I've been told it is like "Sudden Death." But without the violent imagery.

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 10, 2006 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Sorry Padouk - Stay classy

Posted by: BT | July 10, 2006 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Padouk, "Boodlesaurus Rex" is good -- you can't go wrong with the King.

In fact, we could just call him Elvis.

Posted by: Ivansmom | July 10, 2006 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Not showing the bathroom breaks on TV is another unwritten rule. I'm sure plenty of spectators have footage of the phenomenon. I'll have to go check YouTube. YouTube has everything.

Posted by: Pixel | July 10, 2006 1:54 PM | Report abuse

JA, I'm verplexed with the removal of your pciture (not that I will miss it) - it made you look young, besides, Geo. Will still has his cameo shot with his WaPo column. The graphic sort of conjures up a thought of Robbie Douglas of My Three Sons riding 'Spot' the dog from The Munsters.

Posted by: farfrombeltway | July 10, 2006 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Didn't see the game, but can imagine that head butt hurt something awful. I agree with the person that said when people are playing sports, they're hyped, so it's easy to get caught up in the moment. Does not justify the behavior though. My dad had three daughters, and he loves football, meaning we went to every high school football game when we were in school. The home games and the away games. It was fun, although I don't still don't know the rules of the game.

Posted by: Cassandra S | July 10, 2006 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Twisted his nipple? Joel, you just HAD to toss that into the mix, didn't you, you saucy devil.

Personally, I like "Umbrage" (Umby, for short) for the informal name of the beast, whose number (of course; can there be any doubt?) is 666. As for it's formal, taxonomic name, I think it goes without say that "Achen" has to be part of it. Achenopterix blogosaurii? Blogosaurus Achenblogii or Achenii? Angelina the Joelii?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 10, 2006 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Golden goal, not shower. The golden goal goes in, you win. End of game, no further time. It happens after regular overtimes in which the full 15 minutes ticks off.

Posted by: untethered | July 10, 2006 2:02 PM | Report abuse

BT, that was me, not RD Padouk. You will note that what I said was that your comment "sounded like" bigotry, not that you were bigoted.

You replied that 'You would probably agree with me that Materazzi is an "Italian" and he is "Classless." Together they combine to be "Classless Italian." '

You use this to justify calling him "a classless Italian", rather than, say, "an Italian with no class." One term expresses an opinion about all Italians; the other expresses a certain unity among all Italians, but singles him out for classlessness in particular and in distinction from the general class of Italians.

You have fallen prey to the intentional fallacy, which I summarize in this instance to be "what you intended is not the same thing as what you said."

You also said "Don't read into words too much, you might give yourself a headache." Excuse me, but you're communicating here in a medium in which the printed word (no inflection, no bold-face, no underlining, no pictures (except for Joel), no *%&*)**% italics) is the only means that you have available to communicate your ideas. If you inadvertently say something that you didn't mean to say, you'd do better to apologize for delivering an unintentional slight than to justify the original statement. Don't read into words too little, or you may use them to say something that you don't mean to say.

Since I got some nice pills from my doctors, I don't get too many headaches. Thinking is what I do, professionally, although I don't get paid for boodling.

Posted by: Tim | July 10, 2006 2:03 PM | Report abuse

"picture" - my 1:56 bad. Still searching for the bloggin' spell checker... yeah, I know, "Boodle, duck and cover". Info for the not-so-wise.

Posted by: farfrombeltway | July 10, 2006 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Science Tim---I think you said several days ago you will soon be going to Wyoming and Peru, but we assume not on the same plane...unless you own it. Fosil hunting expedition? Yesterday it rained here in central Wyo.,first hard rain of the summer. So it's cooler. Lawns have perked up, though we are still in year 3 or 4 of drought...not being snoopy, but would be interested in knowing.

Posted by: Gunde | July 10, 2006 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Talk a lot, don't I?

Posted by: Tim | July 10, 2006 2:07 PM | Report abuse

I dunno Tim, if I refered to Sophia Loren as a "foxy septegenarian Italian," I don't know if anyone would think that I was implying all Italians are foxy OR 70-plus.

Posted by: jw | July 10, 2006 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Gunde, that's Dooley who will be going to Wyoming and Peru (not close to each other, so far as I know). He does the paleontology, I do the physics and astronomy. I chose "ScienceTim" rather than "PhysicsTim", because I didn't think about it enough. Plus, as a generalist, I can duck out of questions about string theory, which I don't understand at all. PlanetaryTim probably would have been better.

Posted by: ScienceTim | July 10, 2006 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Watch the time of the game clock when Zidane did the hit, and the time the red card was issued. The "official" from the sidelines took 45 seconds to come on the field, or 15 seconds after the reply was shown on the screen. The "official" never saw it either, until they showed it on the screen. Honestly? Zidance had the crap beat out of him the first half with 16 "from behind" tackles never called!!!

Posted by: Claude | July 10, 2006 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Context is everything, jw. Also, how widely the comment is interpreted depends on whether it is an insult or a compliment. And of course, "septuagenarian" indicates that you mean someone specific, since there is no way to get away with claiming all Italians to be over 70. Read it again, without the word "septuagenarian".

Posted by: Tim | July 10, 2006 2:16 PM | Report abuse

A super titty-twister from he11. Grab his manboobs and twist off those suckers of the fat guy.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2006 2:19 PM | Report abuse

As far the Zidane's reaction, shame on you those who dare to criticize him. He is a "grande" as we in Argentina call to the best players. Matterazzi did what he always did: provoke. He is well known by his dirty actions in the Italian tournament. He is a butcher. He represents the anti-futbol. I'm sure those who follow the Italian League understand my point. Zidane is bay far one of the most elegant players I've ever seen and believe me I saw many in Argentina. He remind me another great player: Enzo Francescoli, "el principe". Zidane, I'm really thankful for your virtuous play. I'll miss you.... fortunately, I saved some videos.
ABC's commentators sucks!!!.They don't know what they are talking about. The narration is so lethargic and lacks of real analysis: only anecdotes that do not fit on a final WC match (Jesse Owens' triumph in Berlin 36'.. who cares that is that moment!!! Save that for the Olympics Games or references to golf, much for my taste!!!) or report meaningless statistics that in Futbol nobody pay attention because the inherent randomness of the game. Please hire new commentators for the next WC. All the big networks hire the best plus players that won something important in theirs careers.

Posted by: Maradona | July 10, 2006 2:23 PM | Report abuse

untethered wrote: "When was the last time you saw a baseball player suffering so badly from cramps they lay in rigor on the ground?" Never saw it in the pros--but have seen it in local leagues, especially to catchers on a 95-degree, 98-percent humidity day. And I've seen at least three catchers and one umpire (me) removed for heat prostration. I've twice stopped a game and ordered one team to remove it's catcher before the kid passed out (usually they don't argue with you about it, either). Only once have I stopped a game for a pitcher; I didn't pull him, but made the coach come out and talk to him, and then the coach pulled him.

You probably don't like baseball, untethered, which is certainly your preogative. But I think your view of it may be a little skewed. One sport isn't "better" than another based on somebody cramping up, or sitting on a bench while the other team takes a turn. The offense and defense get to "rest" in football, too, you know.

I'm just amazed that anyone thinks that trash talk somehow explains anybody's behavior or reaction. It's irrelevant to say that Materazzi is a classless jerk, a trash-talker, a racial-epithet-hurler or a raging fanny-patting nipple-pincher. By reacting the way he did, Zidane puts himself in the same category as Materazzi. So now you've just got two classless jerks, instead of one.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 10, 2006 2:23 PM | Report abuse

After reading the comment another time, I think I see your point. The word "Italian" in the phrase "classless Italian" is rather superfluous, unless you're implying that there's no other type of Italian than the classless variety.

Posted by: jw | July 10, 2006 2:31 PM | Report abuse

That's it Mudge. A living legend like Z should not have stooped to that weasel's level. A 34 years old seasoned veteran isn't expected to react to trash talking. It may be almost excusable on a hothead 18-21 years old but not at his level. Hopefully when Zidane speaks in "a few days" he will make clear that it was a very stupid thing to do and regrets it on its face, not just because he was caught and expelled.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | July 10, 2006 2:33 PM | Report abuse

It is a pity that in the USA people still don't understand this game.

Posted by: Finegann | July 10, 2006 2:44 PM | Report abuse

no excuse for what he did. Oh and cut and pasting from Wikipedia, classic. And what if the other side of the story is Materazzi called him a horrible name and punched him in the groin? Will that make it ok? Joel I would fine some new friends. One day John may take something you say the wrong way and light you up.

Posted by: defend Zidane? | July 10, 2006 2:46 PM | Report abuse


Perhaps this was a Haute Maine matter, but wasn't an NHLer (Bertuzzi, IIRC) charged with aggravated assault for a horrible checking incident that left another player paralyzed for a time and never able to play again?

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 10, 2006 2:53 PM | Report abuse

You can always tell when the blog hits the home page.

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 10, 2006 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Entirely possible, Scottynuke. I don't keep up with sports very well (shot of husband and son rolling with laughter at understatement of the year) but that sounds like exactly the sort of thing that would result in prosecution. I was being scrupulously, or perhaps tediously, literal in saying that I personally have not been involved in or reviewed such a case.

Posted by: Ivansmom | July 10, 2006 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Scottynuke, yes Bertuzzi was charged, and it was not the first time charges have been laid here. I found two cases dating back to 1969, it seems that the courts found there is an implied consent by players in a hockey game, the consent being that in the course of the game they could get hurt. The charges occur in incidents that the Crown believes go over and above what could be expected in a regular game (hitting, checking, fight etc).

I am sure SoC could give a more technical legal explanation.

Posted by: dmd | July 10, 2006 2:59 PM | Report abuse

I noticed that too, Padouk; now we'll be inundated by people who absolutely will not understand that this is not a blog about soccer. What's the soccer equivalent of a Rovestorm?

Posted by: Ivansmom | July 10, 2006 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Bertuzzi it was. Another high-adrenalin player having a brain fart followed by a solid direct to an opponent's side of the head.

Kaboodleius anitalicus, var. Achenleii ?

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | July 10, 2006 3:03 PM | Report abuse

I'm still voting for Boodlesaurus Rex.

It's just so fun to say.

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 10, 2006 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Ah, for a moment I thought Maradona was sayng MY comments made no sense. Well, they're not the best, but they are better than what could be heard during the broadcast. The old guy should have let Winalda do the talking. At least he's played the game and wouldn't be reminiscing about the '36 Olympic Games.

Posted by: a bea c | July 10, 2006 3:10 PM | Report abuse

why can't I see the little red monster on this computer? Gotta go back to the desktop.

Posted by: a bea c | July 10, 2006 3:11 PM | Report abuse

The Italians had it won anyway. Butthead or no Butthead.

Posted by: DC | July 10, 2006 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Fordus Jachenbachii ?

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | July 10, 2006 3:18 PM | Report abuse

what is IIRC?

Posted by: afirsttimmer | July 10, 2006 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Shriek, "Fordus" took me a minute--and then I was ROTFLMAO. Fordy for short? Well done!

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 10, 2006 3:22 PM | Report abuse

IIRC is "If I recall correctly."

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 10, 2006 3:23 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: afirsttimmer | July 10, 2006 3:24 PM | Report abuse

IIRC If I Remember Correctly, or something to that effect.

Mudge, I like Umby better. This is so inside joke that it hurts though.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | July 10, 2006 3:25 PM | Report abuse

"Fordus?" I'm afraid that I'm still in the dark. This is making fun of those of us who never learned Latin, isn't it? You meanies!

Posted by: ScienceTim | July 10, 2006 3:27 PM | Report abuse

IIRC could also be the International Institute of Racing Curmudgeons, if 'Mudge and bc ever get that moose-avoiding radar worked out.


Posted by: Scottynuke | July 10, 2006 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Fordus? Golden goals? Nipple twisting? Obscure latin sounding fictional animal names that cannot be posted?

Shocked. Shocked I am.

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 10, 2006 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Tim. Don't be a Fording fool. Remember your boodle history.

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 10, 2006 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Just got back.

Boodlicius Fordii?

Bertuzzi it was. That's an example of both a criminal and civil action arising from an incident during a game.

afirstimer, IIRC = If I Recall Correctly.

Posted by: SonofCarl | July 10, 2006 3:39 PM | Report abuse

And where's that brassard, SoC?

*tapping toe*


Posted by: Scottynuke | July 10, 2006 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Hmmmmm. Brassard would also be a good name. Fordus J. Brassard III? Brassard J. Fordus IV? Sir Fordus Brassard, Duke of Umbrage? (No, have to save that one for later use on something else.)

Never mind. Your honors, I withdraw the suggestion.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 10, 2006 3:52 PM | Report abuse

An old joke in the medical profession:
An internist and a surgeon are racing down the hall of the hospital to catch the elevator before the big steel doors clamp shut. They get there with only a second to spare. The internist reflexively sticks his hand through the opening. The surgeon (unwilling to risk an essential body part) reflexively sticks in his head.

Posted by: mrk | July 10, 2006 3:59 PM | Report abuse

BK, Tim, et al--
Another way to approach the "classless Italian" issue is to substitute some other racial or ethnic group for "Italian," and ask yourself how confident you'd be in using the term, live and in person, in front of a member of that racial or ethnic group. For e.g., even if you could later make the same linguistic argument that BT made in his/her first response to Tim, wouldn't you think at least twice before describing someone as a "classless African American"? Or is it more acceptable to denigrate certain ethnic groups but not others? While many have amused themselves making fun of Materazzi's name (e.g., Maserati, Ferrari, etc.), how free would you feel in mocking an African name? Curiuous that in this blog we can agree that Materazzi, based on prior history and no specifric evidence in this instance, may have said something inappropriately racist to Zidane, while at the same time happily mock the Italian's own heritage.

Posted by: fairweather | July 10, 2006 4:01 PM | Report abuse

BK, Tim, et al--
Another way to approach the "classless Italian" issue is to substitute some other racial or ethnic group for "Italian," and ask yourself how confident you'd be in using the term, live and in person, in front of a member of that racial or ethnic group. For e.g., even if you could later make the same linguistic argument that BT made in his/her first response to Tim, wouldn't you think at least twice before describing someone as a "classless African American"? Or is it more acceptable to denigrate certain ethnic groups but not others? While many have amused themselves making fun of Materazzi's name (e.g., Maserati, Ferrari, etc.), how free would you feel in mocking an African name? Curiuous that in this blog we can agree that Materazzi, based on prior history and no specifric evidence in this instance, may have said something inappropriately racist to Zidane, while at the same time happily mock the Italian's own heritage.

Posted by: fairweather | July 10, 2006 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Here's a US example of a sports/ amusement park injury. Murphy v. Steeplechase Amusement Co., 250 N.Y. 479, 166 N.E.173 (1929) is a decision by the great Chief Justice Cardozo on the principle of "volenti non fit injuria" (voluntarily assumed risks) in civil actions. The Plaintiff was injured when he was thrown to the ground on an amusement ride called the "flopper". The case was dismissed. Here's a quote (some great dated language):

"One who takes part in such a sport accepts the dangers that inhere in it so far as they are obvious and necessary, just as a fencer accpets the risk of a thrust by his antagonist or a spectator at a ball game the chance of contact with the ball...The antics of the clown are not the paces of the cloistered cleric. The rough and boisterous joke, the horseplay of the crowd, evokes its own guffaws, but they are not the pleasures of tranquility. the plaintiff was not seeking a retreat for meditation. Visitors were tumbling about the belt to the merriment of onlookers when he made his choice to join them. He took the chance of a like fate, with whatever damage to his body might ensue from such a fall. The timorous may stay at home."

Posted by: SonofCarl | July 10, 2006 4:01 PM | Report abuse


You sure that's not a contemporary ruling on Boodling?


Posted by: Scottynuke | July 10, 2006 4:03 PM | Report abuse

SN, the brassard is the Boodle coffee room. I made, um, some additions to it.

My futball fanatic friend tells me that before 1970 this match would have been decided by a coin toss?!?!

Posted by: SonofCarl | July 10, 2006 4:07 PM | Report abuse

The epaulets and gold braid ("scrambled eggs, 'Mudge? Pixel?) look fine, SoC.

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 10, 2006 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps this is what Materazzi said to Zizou: "Your mother's Italian."

Posted by: 3rdfloor | July 10, 2006 4:16 PM | Report abuse

It's not that we (USA people) don't understand the game, it's more we just don't care about it.

Posted by: farfrombeltway | July 10, 2006 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Sonofcarl, when I read that I thought about boodling too. The timerous may stay at home. I don't want to stay home. So, I'm baccccccccccccccccccccccccck.

Posted by: Cassandra S | July 10, 2006 4:23 PM | Report abuse

fairweather, I considered an example of the sort that you suggest, and concluded that it would be too inflammatory, the way that I was thinking of it. You found a good way to express the idea in a non-confrontational way. Bravo!

I think you are being a little unfair regarding the name jokes. (A) there haven't been all that many, and they have subsided. (B) they really are more of a joke at the speaker's own expense, implying a stupid inability to master the man's name. (C) they are jokes about Materazzi in particular, not his Italian heritage, implying that he, personally, is unworthy of the attention required to learn his name.

Then again, I don't make those jokes, so I won't work too hard to justify them. My own last name, which is L!^3>&00*, is perennially mispronouned and twisted in a small number of tiresomely predictable ways. It gets old.

Posted by: Tim | July 10, 2006 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Where's the new picture? I'm getting the old picture of Joel looking young. What is the new picture and how do I get it?

Posted by: Cassandra S | July 10, 2006 4:26 PM | Report abuse

fairweather, I make no such assumption (nor agree that the rest of us have "agreed") that Materazzi made a racist remark. I not only have no clue what he said, there are at least three competing scenarious: (1) Materazzi hooked him, and then they exchanged words (possibly including non-racist remarks along the lines of "Do that again, Materazzi, and I'll kick your a--." "Hey, go ford yourself, Zizou." (2) Materazzi pinched his nipple (and perhaps further words ensued); and (3) that Materazzi made non-racist remarks that nevertheless insulted Zizou's family and/or called his sister a wh0re.

There is no evidence whatsoever of the nature of their conversation. Materazzi may or may not be a dirty player and thug; until today, I never even heard of the guy. But I've heard a ton of trash talk on playing fields, and 98 percent of the time it seldom rises above anything beyond "Get out of my way, jerk," or "Hey, eff you, pal," etc. Players do perfectly well with creatively and colorfully taunting each other without the need to bring in racism, families, the propensity of wives, girlfriends or sisters to commit various sexual acts, etc. Occam's razor suggests the easiest, most likely choice, that whatever was said concerned what had immediately happened on the field.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 10, 2006 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Good for you, Cassandra. We will "evoke our own guffaws".

Posted by: SonofCarl | July 10, 2006 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Error and Nani, come out and play. We miss you guys. Please.

Posted by: Cassandra S | July 10, 2006 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Nani and Error, come back. We miss you guys, come out and play. Please. We'll be good.

Posted by: Cassandra S | July 10, 2006 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Don't we need to question the usefulness of Occam's razor now that we know he wasn't using one of those five blade doozies Gillette has? Just asking . . . .


Posted by: distant lurker | July 10, 2006 4:34 PM | Report abuse

If someone called my sister a wh0re, I know my response: "Sorry, pal, she charges top dollar, so you couldn't afford her."

Besides, my sister isn't a wh0re; she's an author of online bisexual smut. Totally different. As our father said, "I don't mind that she writes it, but the research concerns me." (or something like that.) I'd give you the web site, but she prefers to keep her gender and identity obscure in these circles, and I've already given away too much. Besides, I wouldn't want to get any of you (or myself) fired.

Posted by: ScienceTim | July 10, 2006 4:36 PM | Report abuse

I bailed on the last boodle, when it looked like it was going to turn into an angry, ummm... pre-rugby match. Is that what happened? Did everyone march off in a huff? Please don't resume the argument just to get me up to speed. I'm just wondering about the generalities.

Posted by: ScienceTim | July 10, 2006 4:39 PM | Report abuse

And BTW, fairweather, I'm the guy that made the first (and so far as I'm aware) only joke referring to Materazzi's name, and I make no damn apology for it. The reason why the name is a bit difficult to pronounce is that, phonetically, it has EXACTLY the same sounds as Maserati, with the T and the S/Z sounds transposed. I would have made EXACTLY the same joke had his name been Irish, or Polish, or Chinese, or Argentinian, and contained two transposed consonants that sounded like an otherwise familiar word/name/brand. As it happens, we talk about sports cars on this blog from time to time, and the similarity between Maserati and Materazzi has no racist or ethnic or ani-Italian overtones whatsoever. As it happens, I LIKE Maseratis, I LIKE Italians, I LIKE Italian food; I LOVE Tuscany, I LIKE spaghetti westerns (hope that wasn't an ethnic slur for you) and anything done by Federico Fellini, I even like Mario Batali and think that at age 70, Sophia Loren is still a dish. That OK with you now?


Oh, I left out the Godfather trilogy.

Sometimes I think serious people are such a pain in the patoot.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 10, 2006 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Not sure about Nani, but EF marched off in a huff. Very sad.

Posted by: dmd | July 10, 2006 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Wine, Mudge you forgot the Italian wines!

Posted by: dmd | July 10, 2006 4:48 PM | Report abuse

ScienceTim, yesterday's Boodle was yesterday. Today's Boodle is today. Look not to the past. Be happy.

Besides, Errol will be back. He knows how things come and go so quickly here. Besides, we're his electoral base.

Posted by: ivansmom | July 10, 2006 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Frank Ahrens' WebWatch column has the following swell quote:

"(Is it the speed with which flamers type that inevitably leads to typos? Or is it a political statement, a willful rebellion against the bourgeoisie strictures of so-called conventional spelling? Or are they just idiots? Discuss."

Although, it should have been "bourgeois", not "bourgeoisie."

Posted by: ScienceTim | July 10, 2006 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Yes, Zizou reacted badly; but wait a minute? Wasn't it Materazzi who fouled Zizou early on and he ended up with a penalty kick out of it? The war started way before the head butting incident. And think about it. Zizou has made mistakes before, but doesn't have the "dirty pool" rep that Materazzi has, and there's a reason for the head-butt, though most of us in Europe wish he would have done more than head-butt they guy. Materazzi is famous for kicking, punching, and out and out assaulting other players rather gratuitously, and yesterday's ref was obviously not siding with the French when those fouls were being made. Zizou may have snapped, but I know a lot of men who would have kicked Materazzi all the way back to Italy and then some, if they had just had the chance. Zizou's own players defended him, telling the press, it was a "shame" but that he had been putting up with the racism the entire game. Shame about it, Zizou is Arab, and Arabs are feeling really picked on in France, and everywhere else, in general. And if you've never been to Europe and don't understand how the anti-Arabism has attracted the Italians, just try going there. Oh, and they don't like Americans either, so don't feel slighted when they call you a few names and try to kick the &*& out of you when noone is looking!

Posted by: | July 10, 2006 5:14 PM | Report abuse

I have been in possession of a very Eye-talian surname all of my life and have heard every single mis-pronunciation, endured confusion with various menu items, was once identified as the sister of an Indian guy whose name happened to start with the same three letters and end in "i"-- there is no limit to people's inventiveness where my name is concerned. It doesn't bother me now, but it did when I was little.

Anyhoo, the best one was at the Navy chow-hall. One night while working the swing shift, I went down to dinner and the menu board declared the evening's entree to be:

Turkey Ragazzini

Posted by: Pixel | July 10, 2006 5:16 PM | Report abuse

Sometimes I think sarcastic people have an agenda that even they are unaware of.

Posted by: DC | July 10, 2006 5:17 PM | Report abuse

For those of you wondering why Zidane lost his cool? Check this out!

Posted by: | July 10, 2006 5:18 PM | Report abuse

No it was Malouda that was fouled and flopped. I still can't believe that some people are attempting to justify Zidanes head-butt. how can you generalize like that? You have not even heard from Zidane and you have already sentenced all the Italians for there anti-Arabism . Disgusting. Sounds like you have a beef with Europeans and I challenge you to look into that.

Posted by: DC | July 10, 2006 5:32 PM | Report abuse

How about adding a ball every 10 minutes of overtime? Once they have 2 or 3 balls on the field, might be a lot of fun. Woohoo!

Posted by: kt | July 10, 2006 5:33 PM | Report abuse

SOS-Racisme, a French anti-racism organization, is reporting (on the basis of sources from the soccer world) that Materazzi called Zidane a "dirty terrorist." This may not be true, and it certainly does not justify Zizou's violent attack, but it gives a sense of how all of this is playing in Europe. There is a simmering nastiness over there. For a while, it seemed that Zidane had managed to transcend the clash of civilizations, but alas it was not to be.

Posted by: guez | July 10, 2006 5:42 PM | Report abuse

I'm loving the extra balls option! Doesn't change the game's essential aim, just makes scoring inevitable. I think they'd need extra officials, though.

Posted by: Bob S. | July 10, 2006 6:19 PM | Report abuse

Bob S., wouldn't that be fun? Hockey and maybe basketball could also have this feature. The cameraman's union has probably blocked this change.

Posted by: SonofCarl | July 10, 2006 6:33 PM | Report abuse

It was reported today in Dutch newspapers, that language specialists in Brazil have stadied the footage of the incident and concluded what Materazzi said that ticked of Zidane... he said, your sister is a (variant of prostitute)... rather than that ZZ is a terrotist....regardless, Zidane should have let it go....

Posted by: Tacovsky | July 10, 2006 6:35 PM | Report abuse

I don't suppose eliminating the ball altogether would help?

Well, it was just an idea.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 10, 2006 6:37 PM | Report abuse

What are you proposing Curmudgeon, the teams wrestle if they can't break the tie?
:) Would certainly allow the players a way to get rid of the frustration that built up during the game.

Posted by: dmd | July 10, 2006 6:40 PM | Report abuse

So, what language did these players use to speak to each other? What language do they use to speak with the officials? I understand many romance languages are similar enough to comprehend, but there is so much jawing out there I have to know how to talk smack at the World Cup. Especially if you have US-Ghana or Czech Republic - Mexico. How does it work?

Posted by: Greg | July 10, 2006 6:40 PM | Report abuse

It's a little known fact that Esperanto is the official language of World Cup smack talking.

So if Smacktalker, for example, wished to communicate a suspicion of a player's sibling's occupation, he might say "Oy, [e.g. Zidane], su sestra esta horoj"

Posted by: SonofCarl | July 10, 2006 6:52 PM | Report abuse

SCC for correct Esperanto: "Lo, Zizou, propra fratino esti prostitutino"

Posted by: SonofCarl | July 10, 2006 7:05 PM | Report abuse

I love the suggestion of extra balls -- or none, Mudge, the confusion would be the same in the end. I think we should interpret it strictly; in hockey, overtime gets balls on the ice, not extra pucks.

If you've ever seen three-year olds play organized soccer (using the term very loosely) you've pretty much seen what play with extra balls would be like.

Posted by: Ivansmom | July 10, 2006 7:05 PM | Report abuse

ok - since i can't boodle at work STILL - can someone please tell me what happened to our old lindaloo? this new loomis that is posing for our lindaloo is quite the unattractive creature! she made nasty snide remarks to two of the sweetest people i know for voicing their... wait for it... OPINIONS! last i checked, they were like... ahem... tuckuses - everyone has one... loomis, this new you has a very unapplealing superior attitute that, to borrow error's line, really cheeses me off... bring back the old lindaloo please!

sorry - but it had to be said...

'mudge - u get my e-mail?

Posted by: mo | July 10, 2006 7:16 PM | Report abuse

Tim, did you see my complete sketch of my trip to the Grand Canyon yesterday? I even included pictures...

Personally, I don't do sports right now. I get too involved and stressed, so I just follow the news to make sure I know what folks are talking about. Maybe when I retire I will be unstressed enough to watch. (Five months, 2 weeks, 4 days, but who's counting?) But it's time to move on.

K-guy, are you still out there? Hope all is well with you. We miss you still!

Posted by: Slyness | July 10, 2006 7:29 PM | Report abuse


"It's "deking"; "deke" is actually in my Oxford dictionary."

Actually I wasn't sure if it was one "e" or two. It's a word that I've used or heard used all my life in all sorts of contexts besides hockey, but that I've almost never seen written out.

Posted by: Ken | July 10, 2006 7:34 PM | Report abuse

Yes, K-guy, we miss you. Best wishes, wherever you are.


In other news, sanity reigns...

WASHINGTON (AP) -- An FBI raid on a Louisiana congressman's Capitol Hill office was legal, a federal judge ruled Monday.

Chief U.S. District Judge Thomas F. Hogan said members of Congress are not above the law. He rejected requests from lawmakers and Democratic Rep. William Jefferson to return material seized by the FBI in a May 20-21 search of Jefferson's office.

OK, so it was the same judge that issued the warrant in the first place. Still, I'm glad he stood up for what he determined to be a legal search warrant.

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 10, 2006 7:42 PM | Report abuse

Ken, I didn't really know until I looked it up (who would except maybe a sports writer?). Now, the tougher one that I couldn't find is "beaking", as in "that guy is really beaking off to the ref".

Posted by: SonofCarl | July 10, 2006 7:51 PM | Report abuse

Not room here for more than a thumbnail sketch, but years ago, I took a couple of relative novices (over my objections, after much pleading on their part) on a hike into the Grand Canyon backcountry. Suffice it to say: terror, frustration, & hilarity ensued. Hey, we all made it out alive, and they've got stories that I REALLY doubt that they've ever tried to top!

Posted by: Bob S. | July 10, 2006 7:52 PM | Report abuse

SoC and Ken, must be a Canadian thing, I always thought it was deeking, when I looked it up online the only references to "deeking" are in reference to hockey. Could be a Canadian spelling or common mispelling. I couldn't find a Canadian dictionary online. Perhaps there is one specifically for Canadian Hockey terms or in my case famous Danny Gallivan hockey terms (i.e. dipsy doodle across the blue line).

Posted by: dnd | July 10, 2006 7:57 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Bob S. | July 10, 2006 7:58 PM | Report abuse

The 7:57 was me - can't even spell my own name right!

Posted by: dmd | July 10, 2006 7:58 PM | Report abuse

Wow, I had to try it for myself!

How can we consider any other name? It HAS to be the blog that dares not speak its name! It's gonna be REALLY hard to convince me that any other name of the rose would smell so sweet!

Posted by: Bob S. | July 10, 2006 8:00 PM | Report abuse

Yes, mo, got your e-mail, and replied to it about 6:30, from work (I'm home now).

Actually, dmd, my suggestion to remove the ball altogether applied not only to the tiebreaker but also to the entire game in general. After all, if you aren't going to score any points, what good does having a ball do you? Just think of the fantastic headbutts and brilliant saves you could have! The dribbling, the passing...and who could gainsay any of it? I think "air soccer" could really catch on, like air guitar (and who among us isn't very nearly as good as Hendrix when it comes to air guitar?).

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 10, 2006 8:02 PM | Report abuse

Mudge your comment at 8:02 is too funny, I must say I share similar views of Soccer, I've tried but I find it hard to like. Which is unfortunate as both my girls have played.

But I am not an expert, I like Canadian football where you can score simply by missing a field goal or with a long kick off - it is not "art" but never dull.

Posted by: dmd | July 10, 2006 8:06 PM | Report abuse

dmd - I was never much of a hockey fan, but have had buddies who were fans, and I've been aware of the term since the mid-70's. On the rare occasions that I've seen it written, I've normally seen it as "deke/deked" (I've never seen anyone bold enough to carry it forward with "deking"!), but I've also seen the "deek/deeked" construction.

Posted by: Bob S. | July 10, 2006 8:06 PM | Report abuse

mo, wait a minute...did I reply? I meant to. I read the piece and attached it with some copy-editing...I think...

I'm having a "senior moment." If I didn't reply, I'll do it first thing in the morning.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 10, 2006 8:07 PM | Report abuse

In LindaLoo's defense, she didn't actually make any personal attacks, she just tried to clear up some facts. Anyone else who does that here is praised for speaking their mind and having courage of conviction. Used to be that was what the 'boodle was all about -- ideas, not name-calling. Sometimes Cassandra's comments can be kind of provocative -- not that there's anything wrong with that -- and Linda is one of the few people here who is prepared to challenge them if she disagrees. (There's no shortage of people who are prepared to agree with them -- that's easy. It takes more courage to disagree.) And Cassandra actually seems less bothered by Linda's remarks than some other people do.

I think some of the comments to and about Linda have been nastier than her initial comments were. If you go back to the suecris discussion that Error linked to, you'll see that what suecris said to Linda was a lot worse than what Linda had said in the first place. (Well, that's my opinion, anyway.) Yet everyone is jumping in and saying, Yeah, what suecris said! (And some of you might have taken those comments out of context, since you weren't regular readers back then and maybe didn't see the previous 'boodle that led up to suecris's remarks. And if I recall correctly, suecris left because she was later embarrassed by what she'd said to Linda.)

I would like to propose a motion that we cut Linda some slack.

Posted by: Tom fan | July 10, 2006 8:10 PM | Report abuse

I'll point out that the folks who used the term hardly restricted it to hockey. It referred generally to artful misdirection + progress toward a goal, and especially to doing it in any sport.

Posted by: Bob S. | July 10, 2006 8:11 PM | Report abuse

You are right Bob, I am just most familiar with it in reference to hockey an only realized that until today had never thought about how it was spelt.

Posted by: dmd | July 10, 2006 8:15 PM | Report abuse

Hey, I just noticed the new graphic.
It's RT's drawing of the Boodle as Beast! That animal Joel is riding is the BOODLE!

Posted by: Tom and RT fan | July 10, 2006 8:18 PM | Report abuse

Tom Fan: hmmm... methinks it's fair to say that (in her less charitable moments) Loomis has been more harshly judgmental in her comments over the past year or so than she was (generally) prior to that. The first time I remember making note of it was a silly little conversation about camping/backpacking, and remarks about the sorts of folks who tend to load up on fancy new equipment.

The broader point is that (I think) some folks are having to adjust to Linda in ways that she doesn't always have to adjust to them, and it's not always easy.

Posted by: Bob S. | July 10, 2006 8:20 PM | Report abuse

Well, Linda has been going through a tough time lately, what with her eye trouble. And it just seems to me that people are more inclined to pounce on her than they are on anybody else.

I still think we should cut her some slack, or at least just keep our nastier thoughts to ourselves -- practice the civility we preach. Otherwise this blog will become like postblog, or the Mommy blog.

Posted by: Tom fan | July 10, 2006 8:28 PM | Report abuse

Even more gen'rly: I think I'd feel comfortable using rhetorical tools that tended toward the sarcastic with Tim, jw, 'Mudge, possibly you (!), or a number of others who are comfortable using that as a mode of discourse - than I would with Sara or Cassandra or mo, or a number of others who don't. I'm not sure that Loomis is always careful about (or cares about) making the distinction. But, hey, that's what makes salads interesting!

Posted by: Bob S. | July 10, 2006 8:29 PM | Report abuse

Tom Fan, I cannot speak for anyone but myself, so here is my opinion, I do not have a problem with differing opinions as long as they are not condescending (sp?). In my opinion Linda sometimes has that tone in her posts.

Everyone has difficulties in life, hard times should not be an excuse for arrogance.

Posted by: dmd | July 10, 2006 8:33 PM | Report abuse

If the same team got control of 2 or 3 balls, they could fire them at the goal at the same time in a volley! (Not to be confused with volleyball.) How cool would that be! I might even start watching soccer.

Posted by: kt | July 10, 2006 8:34 PM | Report abuse

What's the problem? Materazzi only called Zidane what he is, and as for the posters who cry and moan about anti-arab feelings in Europe I wonder why that is for who could possibly have anything against such precious people?

Posted by: Materazzi Corazon | July 10, 2006 8:34 PM | Report abuse

now - tom fan - you know i've never been mean to anyone! but i thought her remark to nani about her appreciation for religious wall art uncalled for - she basically said nani was a nitwit who knew nothing about art. and cassandra can voice an opinion about how she feels a newscast she found disturbing - she did not make any personal statements about the gentlemen in question. my point is - linda could have said that she simply didn't like wall art instead of making the demeaning comment she did. she doesn't always seem to be as accomodating to others opinions.

that is MY opinion and i'm not trying to lambast linda - i'm simply pointing out what i think...

Posted by: mo | July 10, 2006 8:34 PM | Report abuse

[Getting back to the drawing -- and having just read Joel's addendum to the Kit -- I guess the beast isn't the 'boodle, but the overall blog. The beast's pointy devil-ish tail is the 'boodle that wags it. I was getting way ahead of myself -- being a little presumptuous.]

Posted by: Tom fan | July 10, 2006 8:35 PM | Report abuse

cole_seddiki: //Shame about it, Zizou is Arab, and Arabs are feeling really picked on in France, and everywhere else, in general.//

Just a precision: Zidane is not Arab. He is French. Born and raised there.

He is also not of Arab descent. His parents were from Kabilie. That makes him of berber descent, or if you prefer of North African descent.

Other than that, I agree with what you said.

Posted by: superfrenchie | July 10, 2006 8:40 PM | Report abuse

Well, thank goodness we've finally heard Testarossa's (or whatever his name is) point of view! I feel better about it all now. :)

Posted by: Bob S. | July 10, 2006 8:42 PM | Report abuse

Okay - so in honor of the Italian Victory in the world cup, I present the following:

World Cup Pasta Sauce
This is an authentic recipe for southern Italian pasta sauce. It came to me from my grandfather who arrived here about a century ago. It is a mild sauce that gets much of its flavor from the meat. The ingredients, proportions, and cooking time are approximate. You may never get the same results twice, but you will doubtless always be pleased.


About six 12-ounce cans of diced, unseasoned tomatoes
A 1-2 pound piece of inexpensive beef
A large yellow onion
A dozen sliced mushrooms
Several cloves of chopped garlic
A few pinches of Oregano
At least one big bunch of chopped fresh sweet basil
1-2 tablespoons chopped rosemary
1-2 whole bay leaves
Olive Oil
Red Wine
Salt & Pepper


In a thick-bottomed pot sauté the onions in some olive oil and butter for about 10 minutes. Five minutes in add the garlic.

Season the meat with salt and pepper and brown the outside in a medium to medium-high frying pan with more olive oil.

Dump the contents of the frying pan into the pot.

Add the cans of tomatoes, and half of the chopped basil, oregano, and rosemary. Throw in a bay leaf or two, a little salt and pepper, and a generous splash of red wine. Turn the heat up high.

Once the mixture starts to bubble turn it down and let it simmer uncovered.

4 to 6 hours later remove the chunk of meat, shred it, and return the meat and the rest of the herbs to the pot.

2 to 3 hours later the sauce should be thick, and brownish red in color.

Remove from heat, pull out the bay leaf, and serve over Mostaccioli or any other kind of pasta that has a hole in it.

Drink the rest of the wine.


(Joel, I am prepared to accept that this may be the best thing of mine you ever read.)

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 10, 2006 8:42 PM | Report abuse

RD Pad: I think I know how I'd approach it, but for the novice cooks who might be trying to play along:

Should the cook be browning the meat WHILE saute-ing the onions and garlic, or start that process afterward? If it turns out that the meat takes longer than ten minutes, should the onions & garlic be turned off? Removed from the heat? Should any of the fat and/or oil be drained at any point?

Posted by: Bob S. | July 10, 2006 8:51 PM | Report abuse

RD, thanks for the recipe. I don't like buying ground beef. That's a good way to get a good, meaty sauce without it.

About Loomis, I'm relatively new here, and she's never been a bully to me. Or she was and I was too dull to catch on. I just didn't like the tone of the messages to Cassandra. I wouldn't have liked messages such as those sent in my direction.

Posted by: a bea c | July 10, 2006 8:52 PM | Report abuse

Here's something for y'all to tear apart.

Americans don't like watching soccer because it seems so futile. People run one way, then a few seconds later, they're running the other way, and this repeats for what seems like hours with the score remaining 0-0. Then, the whole thing is decided with a shootout that seems to leave a whole lot to chance. This is just un-American. Americans like to feel that they are making progress and that they are in control of their own destinies. Football is often low-scoring, but there is steady progress across the field with every down. And when the ball turns over, there is good reason for it, and it is much less a matter of chance as it seems to be in soccer (at least to the untrained eye) what with all the kicking of the ball all the way over to the other side at no one in particular. Americans are especially prone to becoming frustrated with a long period of futility followed by a decision by chance. Elsewhere in the world, long periods of futility followed by arbitrary decisions is just the way things have always been.

Posted by: kt | July 10, 2006 8:53 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, Padouk. You mentioned earlier that your Italian heritage had brought you an extraordinary spaghetti sauce, and I was hoping you'd post the recipe without nagging. I was, however, prepared to nag. I look forward to cooking & eating it in the reasonably near future.

Posted by: Ivansmom | July 10, 2006 8:54 PM | Report abuse

There is no chance in penalties, if you kick the ball well it goes into the goal, and if not, it doesn't.

Posted by: Materazzi Corazon | July 10, 2006 8:57 PM | Report abuse

To me, "long periods of futility followed by arbitrary decisions" neatly sums up football. Ivansdad has tried for years, but you just can't convince me those "rules" make any sense. Do you realize that football has a position called "nose tackle"? I laughed helplessly for a long time on that one.

Baseball is a different story. Decades of futility, sure, but at least the rules are clear and simple. Imagine extra balls during extra innings -- maybe we could give the base runners bats and the pitcher could pitch at random.

Posted by: Ivansmom | July 10, 2006 8:58 PM | Report abuse

By the way, I haven't segregated them as A-blog recipes specifically, but I've got a pretty good collection of recipes from the blog spread around my collection.

I made Curmudgeon's baked onion recipe last week ( -
Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 10, 2006 03:00 PM)
and it was superb! Folks who didn't much care for onions enjoyed at least a taste.

Posted by: Bob S. | July 10, 2006 9:01 PM | Report abuse

Bob S. Sorry for the ambiguity. Just pull the onions from the heat and let them sit while you brown the outside of the meat. Then dump the contents of frying pan, drippings and all, back into the pot, add the tomatoes and such, and return to the heat.

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 10, 2006 9:01 PM | Report abuse

Once again, Verazzano (or whatever his name is) enlightens me! I shall never bother tuning into a soccer game again until the final, "no chance" penalty kick phase!


Posted by: Bob S. | July 10, 2006 9:04 PM | Report abuse

RD - that wasn't for me so much, but I remember how simple questions like that would leave me clueless about how to proceed when I first started cooking a lot for myself, lo those many years ago!

Posted by: Bob S. | July 10, 2006 9:07 PM | Report abuse

Yes, but when the probability of scoring is so high, the likelihood of a small random error deciding the game becomes large. If a test that is scored on a curve is too easy, some will do poorly because of small, seemingly random errors; random because with everyone there is some probability of making a stupid mistake. If you happen to be the one to make a stupid mistake on an easy test, you will get a very bad score relative to your peers not because you are a poor student, but because you were unlucky. For a good student or athlete, a difficult test is better. Either that, or you repeat the test several times (like in baseball or basketball championship games).

Posted by: kt | July 10, 2006 9:07 PM | Report abuse

Aaaahh, but kt, now you're suggesting the solution that has been repeatedly rejected, which is playing a very long game. Nope, it's two 15-minute overtime periods with one ball, then additional 10-minute periods with an additional ball each successive period, I think!

Posted by: Bob S. | July 10, 2006 9:11 PM | Report abuse

Understand Bob S. I would hate to have somebody burn the onions or start a fire. The two big things to avoid with this recipe are scorching the sauce (might as well dump it) and not being sufficiently patient. This is an all day process. It cannot be rushed. Your house will fill with a unique mellow aroma, one that I will forever associate with ABC's Wide World of Sports.

But that's just me.

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 10, 2006 9:13 PM | Report abuse

RD, the sauce recipe sounds divine; I look forward to trying it!

'Mudge's strawberry and walnut salad is a keeper, too. I made it Saturday night and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Posted by: Slyness | July 10, 2006 9:19 PM | Report abuse

Actually, Bob S., I'm the guy that wants to add a ball every 10 min of overtime, not because it would most accurately determine the better team, but because it would be CRAZY!

Next Olympics, when they announce the Italian Diving Team, I don't think I'm going to be able to restrain myself from yelling, "Who let the soccer players in the pool?"

Posted by: kt | July 10, 2006 9:21 PM | Report abuse

Sly, I thought I remembered the recipe, but I haven't prepared it yet. Yup, it's on my list! I knew that 'Mudge wouldn't have bothered to offer it up if it wasn't a keeper, but I'm sure he'll be gratified by the kudos.

Posted by: Bob S. | July 10, 2006 9:23 PM | Report abuse

Also in the interest of international peace and good sportsmanship, the pasta may be served with French bread and sweet butter.

But in honor of my dear Grandfather, the pasta must have a hole in it! (Ziti works well if you can't find Mostaccioli)

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 10, 2006 9:25 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and I totally agree with Bob S.'s proposal of "...two 15-minute overtime periods with one ball, then additional 10-minute periods with an additional ball each successive period." Very nice. How about cutting that plan down to only 1 15-min overtime before multiple balls and trying that in a local kids soccer league. Can you imagine how much fun that would be? The only problem would be that the kids might deliberately go for a tie so that they could try the multi-ball thing.

Posted by: kt | July 10, 2006 9:26 PM | Report abuse

Oh, trust me, the suggestion is already enshrined permanently, with proper attribution:
How about adding a ball every 10 minutes of overtime? Once they have 2 or 3 balls on the field, might be a lot of fun. Woohoo!

Posted by: kt | July 10, 2006 05:33 PM
Once we get the rules changed, I'm gonna see to it that you're on a statue at FIFA HQ!

Posted by: Bob S. | July 10, 2006 9:26 PM | Report abuse

I agree that the reason Americans don't care for soccer is that it is in many ways a game of frustration. In the US, ice hockey has trouble retaining its popularity for the same reason, although it is higher scoring than soccer. In both games, about 15 low probability events in a row have to occur, just so, for a score to happen. Repeatedly, the fans watch sequences of plays in which 5, or 12, or 14 of those events are strung together by outstanding talent, discipline, and luck, but still no goal. OK, get your act together on center ice, or kick the ball back to your goalie, or whatever, crank up and start again.

Now I like soccer and hockey, I really do. But I see why people might not. The US is the land of Every Man a King, and of Endless Second Chances. It's the land of scoring 17 points in three minutes to ruin a brilliant performance by an opponent who has worn himself out. It's the land of getting to a closer for 5 runs in the bottom of the ninth. It's the Land Where No Lead is Safe.

Posted by: Woofin | July 10, 2006 9:30 PM | Report abuse

kt - I sure seem to remember that as a young pinball player (on the newer machines that offered the option), I LIVED for the extra balls in play!

Posted by: Bob S. | July 10, 2006 9:30 PM | Report abuse

Bob S. I remember those circa 1980. Multi-Ball Action!

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 10, 2006 9:35 PM | Report abuse

Bob, here is a different version of the baked onions.

peel and cut as directed. Place on aluminum foil. "Cup" aluminum foil around the bottom of the onion. Add bullion cube and about 1/2 cup red wine. Close foil and twist to seal. Bake for about 90 minutes.

After dinner, you can serve another batch of foil globes. Core apples (any except granny smith). Place on Aluminum foil. Pour sweetened condensed milk in the hole. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Close foil and twist to seal. Bake along with the onions.

Posted by: a bea c | July 10, 2006 9:46 PM | Report abuse

Woofin - I'm not sure that I'd be QUITE as quick to make such a sweeping generalization, but it's certainly got some truth.

After all, basketball is probably the fastest growing sport worldwide, and it's growing a lot faster outside the US than inside. Maybe all those OTHER folks have some wee bit of appreciation for a quick paced game that requires inexpensive equipment and a small playing field, not just us frenetic Yanks, eh?

Also, as is regularly mentioned, baseball draws a heck of a lot of folks to the park, and it's considered kinda slow in some circles. If memory serves correctly, Maj. League baseball drew over 70 million last year, Nat. League football drew well under 20 million. Obviously eight games per season has a hard time competing with eighty, but those are dramatically different numbers for an old-timers' game that's supposedly been dying for years because Americans are bored with slow-paced sports.

Posted by: Bob S. | July 10, 2006 9:51 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like he has been watching to may American Movies

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2006 9:51 PM | Report abuse

a bea c - Great ideas! I think that both variations will find themselves being served soon at mi casa!

Posted by: Bob S. | July 10, 2006 10:11 PM | Report abuse

Yes! Pinball multi-ball action! That was way cool.

Americans watch a lot of American movies. Might reflect our world-view? Kurosawa's Ran (based on King Lear) was not nearly as big a hit as Star Wars (inspired by Kurosawa's Hidden Fortress, by the way). I'll defer to Kurosawa-guy's opinion on this, though. In Ran, the lord's youngest son strives the whole movie to save his Father, and manages to save his life, only to get sniped at the end, leaving his Father utterly devastated. This is a lot like spending 80% of the soccer game at your opponents goal, totally dominating the field, but just not being able to score, and then losing in a shootout at the end. How well would Star Wars IV have done if Luke Skywalker's critical shot at the Death Star had been foiled by sunspot activity or passing debris, leaving the Emperor free to destroy the rebellion? It would be positively un-American! :-)

Posted by: kt | July 10, 2006 10:23 PM | Report abuse

Bob S., I gotta learn not to enjoy the sound of my own voice so much. It isn't good for actual communication.

But I still think that Americans don't like to watch the level of sheer frustration that is evident in most soccer games that I have seen. A low-scoring baseball game somehow doesn't have that same grim quality to it, for me, anyway.

Posted by: Woofin | July 10, 2006 10:25 PM | Report abuse

Look, whether the Zidane has heard it before or not - and incidentally I find Materazzi's "who me!?" shtick as convincing as any other Italian dive - it's pure nonsense. This is pathetic stuff and the Italians should be ashamed of themselves. But they're not. There seems to be some surprise that the French are so willing to forgive. But not to me, because if you're black or arab or even poor white trash, you know all about this kind of stuff. Sure you're suppose to rise above it and everyone will congratulate you if you do, but if you've ever been taunted, goaded or plain insulted you totally get Zidane and his head-butt. FIFA is so full of it, the manure is pouring out of its every orifice. The Italians have schemed their way to a World Cup victory. They're talented, yes. But they're seemingly dependent on low, underhanded unsportsmanlike conduct. We saw that against the USA and Australia(incidentally, I am not an American, Australian or French) - it's part of their arsenal. Go ahead, give Zidane a red card. He deserved it, because the rules are explicit on physical fouls. The rules are vague on dives and they are even vaguer on racist taunts, bigoted epithets, etc. FIFA had all those little kids walking out with "my game is fair play" messages and everyone was swearing up and down on a stack of cash...err...bibles that racism and bigotry had no place in soccer. Well, newsflash: it does and the Italians played that card when Materazzi goaded Zidane. He succeeded with taunts so that's supposed to make Zidane a bad guy? Maybe in FIFA's rarified atmosphere, but down on the street (exception being streets in Italies big and little) most people will forgive Zidane and question the bona fides of the game.

Posted by: EE | July 10, 2006 10:33 PM | Report abuse

Woofin - I'm probably much worse than you at falling in love with my own voice. DEFINITELY one of the things about myself that I'm not crazy about! I'm fortunate that my friends (& most casual passers-by) are tolerant. Your point about Americans and sports preferences is pretty valid, as kt (by analogy) pointed out.

By the way, I'm pretty fond of Kurosawa (the director), but I tend to leave the commentary to K-guy unless I feel that I've got something pertinent to add.

Posted by: Bob S. | July 10, 2006 10:37 PM | Report abuse

Well, I'm so pleased that EE has honored us with a viewpoint from that place that is above and beyond cheap taunts and bigotry!

I feel cleansed, somehow.


Posted by: Bob S. | July 10, 2006 10:40 PM | Report abuse

Woofin, Bob S., please keep talking!

Posted by: kt | July 10, 2006 10:45 PM | Report abuse

Actually, I'll apologize to EE. That was one of those sarcastic rhetorical devices that I try to keep to a minimum! EE was obviously speaking to a subject which is emotionally close to him/her/them, and I made light of the thought. Here's a more thoughtful reply:

EE, I agree with you that "talking smack" is a regular, and regrettable, part of pro sports. And when it's taken to the point where a well-regarded player such as Zidane loses his cool, then the fault is not all Zidane's, and his reaction certainly doesn't detract significantly from the fact that he's been a heck of a player and a pretty good citizen for quite a long time.

However (you knew that there was gonna be a however, right?) YOUR remarks didn't seem top me to be entirely pure of spirit. In a post which decries mean-spirited bigotry, and the winking tolerance for it, where is the place for (?):

"shtick as convincing as any other Italian dive"
"The Italians have schemed their way to a World Cup victory."
"...bibles that racism and bigotry had no place in soccer. Well, newsflash: it does and the Italians played that card when Materazzi goaded Zidane."

Are you sure that you haven't confused one particular Italian player with all of "THOSE" people?

Posted by: Bob S. | July 10, 2006 11:04 PM | Report abuse

Anyway, enough of all that! I'm re-watching "My Cousin Vinnie" at the moment. I'd forgotten how funny it is. It's a very nicely put-together little film, I think.

Posted by: Bob S. | July 10, 2006 11:09 PM | Report abuse

I think it was an eloquent display of futbol rough housin. The dynamics of his "head but" were textbook. I'll be the first to say that Italy won because Zidane stepped off the field to prep for a second round of woop arse to that Italy &*$%F#. FRANCE SHOULD OF WON!

Posted by: France should of won | July 10, 2006 11:14 PM | Report abuse

"France should ..." : I'm with you! There was hardly any time left, and the man's chest was only a little more concave than it started out. Why change the dynamics at that point? I'm sure that if ZZ hadn't been red-carded, we'd have seen some fascinatingly energetic play for the remaining moments!

Posted by: Bob S. | July 10, 2006 11:20 PM | Report abuse

It's possible that americans feel somehow alienated by the low scoring in soccer, but I'm not convinced. We are, after all, a land of immigrants from soccer-mad nations.

I tend to think that it's largely an exposure thing; many americans (and most over 40) probably never had a chance to play the game, and almost none of us have been exposed to it on a high level in any regular way. Look, the game has its own rhythms and flows, and the spacing, momentum, and midfield play differ from other major american sports. It doesn't offer instant gratification to the casual american fan, even for those discriminating folks who enjoy a defensive struggle in football or a pitching duel in baseball.

This gets me back to the economic argument I made (unsuccessfully, apparently) earlier today. There are huge numbers of soccer fans in this country, certainly more than there are hockey fans (no offense to my canuck friends). And all the kids have been playing it for a couple of decades now, boys and girls alike. The game *has* caught on in this country, it's got to have more kids playing it than football or baseball at this point.

I maintain that the reason we're arguing about the game not catching on is that corporate interests have not figured out how to make advertising work during soccer games. The professional leagues are small potatoes here because there's no large-scale TV market, and no reasonable path to follow to generate one. Solve that nut and within a generation the US will be a soccer nation, too.

Posted by: silvertongue | July 10, 2006 11:21 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm... I'm not always sure when "mildly ironic" seeps over into "darkly sarcastic". I THINK that last one was (barely) on the side of the humorous, rather than the bitter, but I'm always open to feedback.

: )

Posted by: Bob S. | July 10, 2006 11:24 PM | Report abuse

Silvertongue - I was, of course, referring to my earlier remark, earlier!

Somehow, I missed YOUR earlier remark (about economics), but it really is THAT simple. If most of the world loves it, and most of the world is regularly caught up in other things American, then the tastes aren't that different. It's strictly a marketing/exposure kinda thing. But I DO feel bad (in advance) for all the futbol snobs who're gonna be SO bummed out once the tasteless Americans jump into it in a big way!

Posted by: Bob S. | July 10, 2006 11:30 PM | Report abuse

Bob and RD: We used to play this machine in out local watering hole back in '74 when we were 18. It was Atlantis, and if one dispensed with all of the fish targets along the left and right margins of the machine and extra ball would come into play. It was quite the thrill to light up the board and ascore enough to be awarded an extra game. A couple of years later Captain Fantastic, a Elton John themed machine, hit the market with a similar M.O. I never masterd video games and to this day might just as well work a joystick with my tongue rather than my phalanges.

I know I'm commenting on Zidane's red card at least 234 comments too late, but here goes. First off, FIFA needs to do away wtih the penalty kick remedy to settle the World Championship. What a bunc of crap. The format should be as in the Stanley Cup, where play continues in extra time in a sudden death fashion. First side to score in extra time wins. Finally, the Italian side did everything in their power to harass Zidane, a typical strategy in any playoff for all of the marbles. Go after the superstar and get him out. Trouble is that the Italian player got away with it. He was clearly holding Zidane while the ball was in their defensive end, then said something, then some more, then too much and he got a headbutt for his troubles. He should have been awarded a ten for his dive. Zidane took a REAL stupid foul. I wonder if the linesman even saw it until it was brought to his attention on the jumbotron. The call was made too late, with too much indecision for it to have been a foul seen by the linesman. IMHO both players should have been tossed for unsportsmanlike conduct. The really henious foul occurred when the other fellow from Italy laid our fellow's face open with an elbow. A headbutt to the chest is enough to knock the wind out of you, hardly henious in my book. Our college assistant coach, a fellow from Ireland, always contended that if you were to take a red car, you better take the other guy with you. Typically, though the officials see the retaliation and hardly ever the instigating event.

Posted by: jack | July 10, 2006 11:34 PM | Report abuse

I'm just waiting for the prosecutor in "My Cousin Vinnie" to mention the "hyena-ous crime"! I think that part's coming up soon.

Posted by: Bob S. | July 10, 2006 11:47 PM | Report abuse

SCC: red card...whoops

Posted by: jack | July 10, 2006 11:48 PM | Report abuse

Bob are an idiot, stick to baseball and couscous.

Posted by: Materazzi Corazon | July 10, 2006 11:49 PM | Report abuse

Fair enough!!

: )

Posted by: Bob S. | July 10, 2006 11:51 PM | Report abuse

If he had a brain and some class, he woul;d not try to justify his horrible behavior. appologize and move on. Same for the french. there is no excuse.

Posted by: jimc | July 11, 2006 12:15 AM | Report abuse

By the way, I'm a rather silly a**hole with an inappropriate sense of humor. I'm even an astoundingly inconsiderate jerk from time to time. But as much as I sometimes would wish it, nobody ever cuts me the slack that they give to idiots.

Posted by: Bob S. | July 11, 2006 12:17 AM | Report abuse

jimc - I'll be amazed if he tries to excuse it. My (completely) uninformed guess is that, after he's had a little time to beat himself up emotionally, he'll give a pretty heartfelt apology.

I could be wrong, and I'll be disappointed if that's not more-or-less how it plays out. But no matter how it plays out: I'll live, you'll live, he'll live, the game will go on. It's a nutty old world!

Posted by: Bob S. | July 11, 2006 12:23 AM | Report abuse

jimc - I was slow there, that was funny!

Posted by: Bob S. | July 11, 2006 12:25 AM | Report abuse

i'm off to bed, but several things have been bothering me today (and i'm not usually the botherable type)...

cassandra... your faith is admirable and beyond my ken. i do find it sometimes irritating (probably because i'm a terminal doubter and cynic when it comes to religious matters), but it's your right to express your beliefs and i'm fine scrolling when i'm not in the mood (or pausing to reflect when i am).

cassandra... that said, i didn't see or hear or read anything about the Mr. Brown incident first-hand, but i did see your and Loomis' back-and-forth over it. Whatever the case, I thought it would have passed with your unnecessary but heartfelt apology/clarification. unfortunately, it didn't.

and now i'm losing the caps, because it just feels... natural. ;-)

loomis... have you read any of the "harry potter" books or seen the movies? not that they're "high art" or anything, but if you have, do you remember "hermione granger"? she's one of the good guys/gals, but whenever something comes up, she runs to the books. not a bad thing, imho.

what i'm getting at is that i think you may be the boodle's "hermione". you go straight to the sources whenever something comes up and share what you find. sometimes, though (and to steal a phrase from rowling) you come across as an "insufferable know-it-all". i'm not saying this to be mean or anything. it's just i think that sometimes you go overboard trying to prove a point when you really don't need to.

we know you're not an idiot. we know you're a pretty darn intelligent boodler. i've been around for quite a while (not so long spouting my mouth off), but i've noticed that you are very good at quickly finding the facts and sources that the rest of us are saying "i heard" or "i remember, but not quite" about. it's almost uncanny, but i find that very commendable.

but please... please... even "hermione" figured out when it was appropriate to put the books aside and give those around her a little squiggle room.

as Elvis Costello once asked:

"What's So Funny 'Bout Peace Love and Understanding?"

Posted by: martooni | July 11, 2006 12:35 AM | Report abuse

hear, hear, martooni. Come back EF, Linda, Nani, Shiloh, K-guy, Don, Nani welcomed me "...[where there's] in this big tent..." a long time ago. The civility of the discourse is what has kept me lurking and posting. As Pummba said, put your behind in your past. Endeavour to perservere.

Posted by: jack | July 11, 2006 1:00 AM | Report abuse

jack - I'm calling it a night myself, but not to worry. Despite some occasional tempests, this has turned out to be a fairly even-tempered and forgiving crowd. Those who genuinely don't have fun here don't stick around. Those who do stick around, generally turn out to be fun!

Posted by: Bob S. | July 11, 2006 1:10 AM | Report abuse

By the way, speaking of those who do or don't have fun and/or stick around:

Is Joel riding the LoneMule in the graphic?

Posted by: Bob S. | July 11, 2006 1:15 AM | Report abuse

It appears Materazzi's insult was racist. If so the butt was okay, somethings are more important than children's games, no matter how much money is involved.

Posted by: Al Green | July 11, 2006 1:59 AM | Report abuse

If so, better to wait until after the game.

Posted by: kt | July 11, 2006 2:03 AM | Report abuse

has anyone figured out why joel's head still looks squished?

more on topic, i played soccer in junior high and high school. i was no star athlete, but it was great fun. i like watching a good game, too, but what really bothered me in the world cup was all the constant intentional fouling. yeah intentional fouling happens in all sports, but the world cup was worse than anything i had seen before.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | July 11, 2006 2:18 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, friends. I haven't had the walk yet, but getting ready. I'm so sad this morning. Feel really bad, I do. I am in the middle of this thing with Lindaloo, Error, well not, Nani, but just don't feel good about it. I am willing to do whatever it takes to bring peace and harmony back to the boodle. You folks were here when I got here. I know that my religious views bother some people. And I also know that what comes out of my mouth sometimes has not been given the thought it should before I speak it. I apologize for that. I will not apologize for my religon because it is my heart and soul, and everything that is me. I love God, I love Jesus, but guess what, they loved me first. I believe, and want to believe, and will tell the world I believe. And my belief is that I love my sisters and brothers in this world, no matter what.

That my friends does not make me perfect, just hanging in there. Oh, if you knew how much I want good things for each and every one of you. How I pray for you, and for all. I am so sorry for this mess. I am. Lindaloo, I am sorry. Error, I am sorry. Nani, we love you much here, come back, and we will do better. I am off. Please know in this life that God loves you more than you can imagine through Him that died for all, Jesus Christ.

Joel, my apologies to you also. And to those of you that are bothered, please forgive me, and know that you are loved by Him that made all, and by me too.

Posted by: Cassandra S | July 11, 2006 6:25 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra... I hope my post didn't come across as me being bothered by your religion -- my intent was quite to the contrary. As one of those agnostic types, I find the ease with which you share your faith unsettling (and that's not your fault), probably because it forces me to reflect on my own lack of faith. I also find it inspiring and heartfelt. You just keep doing what you do and saying what you say because that's your right and it's who you are.

I hope that makes more sense than last night's rambling. btw... I'm not a very happy martooni today as I seem to have lost my balance on the wagon last night and fell off.

If anyone can bring peace anywhere, it's people like you. :-)

Posted by: martooni | July 11, 2006 7:34 AM | Report abuse

Martooni, good luck climbing back on that wagon.

Cassandra, I don't think you should worry about the occasional quarrel here on the blog. If people have a problem with your religious views they can keep scrolling past. As for your concern that "what comes out of my mouth sometimes has not been given the thought it should before I speak it," well, everyone does that, and this is a blog, we're not chiseling anything into the facade of the Parthenon here.

I also would suggest that there's no rule that everyone has to get along perfectly. A fundamental human right is the right to disagree respectfully. Groupthink isn't the goal here. And although I miss Kguy and Shiloh and some of the other excellent boodlers who hit the road, that's also a right -- the right to move on. This blog is hardly a timeless institution -- it may turn out to be as ephemeral as a lemonade stand.

Posted by: Achenbach | July 11, 2006 7:48 AM | Report abuse

And by the way, there's a new kit. On writing a guest kit. If you want to join the fray, send me something by tonight or at the latest tomorrow, at

Posted by: Achenbach | July 11, 2006 7:49 AM | Report abuse


I'm so sorry about your wagon. I know that's hard. It's been a while, hasn't it? Don't let that discourage you. We're here for you and love you whether or not you're on or off the wagon, but I know it's what matters to YOU that matters.

Keep working hard at it. If there's anythihg we can do for you here in the boodle, let us know.

and Cassandra... I second martooni's message to you.

and LindaLoo... you're part of our boodle and we love you for it. If something's bothering you lately (nonboodle-related) that's making you feel a little off kilter we're sorry if we're taking it personally--we're all just human (well... except for the Blogolumpagus I guess).

Posted by: TBG | July 11, 2006 8:08 AM | Report abuse

Materazzi is a lowlife and deserved any pain he suffered (but watch the tape, he pulls back to absorb the blow before he theatrically flops to the floor in fake agony). Zizou was wrong, but he was provoked.

As to penalties, they are necessary for the group round matches, but for the finals they should play 30 minutes of OT. If there is no goal, start again tomorrow.

Posted by: truth | July 11, 2006 9:00 AM | Report abuse

Zidan has a history of violent temper , I used to dislike him very much for that when he was still playing in the French league( was it PSG ? I don't remember) but as he grew older and more famous he became nicer , as it is the case with most football stars. I can see from posts that Americans are very interested in football , you even use the nickname Zizou hahahahahhaha
but you still call it soccer. I wish your team a better luck in the future.

Posted by: cam | July 11, 2006 9:34 AM | Report abuse

If Z. makes one thing perfectly clear, there are things that are more important to a man than a game or the nation. Chapeau!

Posted by: #maradonna | July 11, 2006 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Unfortunately all the hype surrounding Zidane's headbutt in the 111 minute takes away from the real tragedy of the 2006 World Cup Final: the Italian team, Materazzi, relied more on trash-talking tactics and possibly racial slurs than actual talent to win the final and push the French team. What's done is done, however, as an ardent Les Bleus fan and one who understands the state of affairs of the treatment of North African immigrants all over Europe, i hope FIFA is able to deliver a sufficient investigation and judgement into what happenned. Journalists around the world continue to comment on the example Zidane set for the children with his actions. In my honest opinion, as a society, we should instead be focusing on Materazzi's potentially racist insults and what a setback it is for the fight against discrimination worldwide.

Posted by: Kate | July 11, 2006 3:04 PM | Report abuse

So racist insults, constant bumping, slamming, even deliberate cheapshot injury (Zidane's shoulder was nearly dislocated during the match) don't faze, but one burst of anger at the end of it all really sends you off.

I don't buy it. The real culprit here is FIFA, and European soccer generally, for tolerating this kind of abuse. Zidane complained throughout the game, to the indifference of the officials and the delight of his tormentors. THAT is what deserves condemnation, not Zidane. I suspect you would have snapped a lot sooner if subjected to such treatment for so long in those conditions.

You never hear of African or immigrant players verbally insulting Europeans. There's a reason. Racist abuse of immigrants is a-okay in Europe, as seen by the toleration of monkey-chanting. The Materazzis of the world know this, and profit accordingly.

Save your outrage for that.

Vive Zizou!

Posted by: John S | July 11, 2006 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Kate is jumping the gun. We don't know what Materazzi said - we have no proof it was racist. Kate is too quick to hang the Italian based on circumstantial evidence - don't let her in a courtroom! If Kate wants justice for North Africans in Europe, she should go to France and work with them to fight real-world discrimination.

Italy and France played a close game; the teams were equivalent in talent. Italy won the penalty lottery; Zizou made a bad mistake. Life goes on. Deal with it, folks.

Posted by: MM | July 11, 2006 4:06 PM | Report abuse





Posted by: Materazzi is a Pig | July 11, 2006 4:18 PM | Report abuse

MM- the majority of the news reports on the incident are leaning towards the comment being racially based, but you're right, we don't know yet what was said, and we won't until Zidane talks or the tapes are studied more.

AND, for your information, after i finsh my undergraduate degree in International Studies in May of 2007, i will be in France working for FASILD- the government organization that hs been dealing with immigration for about 30 years now. Check out the website, maybe you could learn a few things.

Posted by: Kate | July 11, 2006 4:18 PM | Report abuse

All I have to say is that Materazzi got off easy...The headbutt didn't even come close to giving the devil his due.

Posted by: Viva La France | July 11, 2006 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Kate - good for you on your job choice. Now, are you going to believe Zidane's account of the events and not Materazzi's account? If so, why are you discriminating against Materazzi? Do you dislike Italians for some reason? Or is it only based on your superficial knowledge of the individuals involved, combined with your passion for promoting the rights of North Africans in Europe?

Posted by: MM | July 11, 2006 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Come to think of it, anything that Zizou could have done to Materazzi would not have crossed the line for you. Materazzi, the scoundrel, had it coming.

Posted by: Vive La France | July 11, 2006 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Speculation abounds:

My bet is that Zidane is going to keep quiet about Materrazi's creative verbage.

Posted by: stegner | July 11, 2006 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Re: location of the male brain.
It's not a matter of where, but what.
In the immortal words of Robin Williams, god gave man a brain and a penis but only enough blood to operate one at a time.
Don't know where Z's blood was flowing, but it wasn't to his brain.

Posted by: Sir_Boss | July 11, 2006 5:11 PM | Report abuse

If Zidane had used his hands to fight with Materazzi that would have warranted a penalty shot, in addition to the red card according to the rules. Do your homework before writing up this stuff.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 11, 2006 5:47 PM | Report abuse

Joel, What a GIRLY way to describe what happened. This is not your soccer mom games, you know. HA!

Posted by: does | July 11, 2006 5:51 PM | Report abuse

In the end, it is the way the game works. Red Cards happen, bad calls happen, scuffles happen, insults happen (if you are going to stand up for the rights of Northern African's in Europe, talk to the Saudi dude that Zizou stomped a few years back, eh?)and they change the course of a game. This is making too much of a big deal about it.

So the insult and the corresponding card are status normal in soccer. Zidane getting tossed is status normal in soccer. Just like any other split second decision it could or could not have impacted the outcome of the game.

In the end thought, the game was decided by two hours of play not the 10 minutes that Zidane was not on the field. So all this talk of him letting his team down as captain while having some kernal of truth isn't the huge game defining event that news media are making it to be.

This whole thing is typical of the press using their resources and power to make a story larger than it actually is.

It cracks me up the folks are pointing to 'expert lip readers' to discern what was said or not said. To quote Jerry Seinfeld "Selzer or Salsa?".

In all the news coverage the media aren't even talking about the soccer. Have you seen any articles about Cannavara - who played the entire two hours, didn't fall down on the field insensible during the OT break, and shut out one of the toughest offenses in the world (PK's are NOT a defensive laps).

Lets get the focus back to the game.

Posted by: ltl | July 11, 2006 6:09 PM | Report abuse

The head butt is extremely effective and is often the initial attack of choice in French street brawls - IF the butter is close enough AND catches the buttee off guard. It is not the butt but the follow through that does the damage...

Contrary to the haymaker, the head moves a foot or less and the surprise effect - bang - ends the fight right there. Specialists are known to quickly seize the victim's head from behind - you can imagine the damage.

Also, a forehead butt to the face breaks noses and facial blood vessels - blood effuses in pints and quarts.

Striking elsewhere, the butt is less effective, except in the case of a soccer player or boxer, where perfect timing and highly developed major muscle groups (kneck, back, legs) create a staggering impact. As for the sternum - any sharp blow there is devastating.

Strangely, Materazzi appeared to absorb the blow effectively - as if the move is what he expected - and certainly wanted.

That said, Zizou's header remains inexcusable and a sad end to a truely remarkable carreer.

Bye y'all

and "Allez les Bleus"
you all but had it in the bag.

Posted by: fuzbat | July 11, 2006 6:10 PM | Report abuse

Not to mention the fact that it shouldn't even have been Italy versus France but maybe Australia versus France!!!! Since Australia was knocked out over and appallingly WRONG refereeing decision brought about another Oscar winning dive which gave Italy our game. Fume fume.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 11, 2006 6:12 PM | Report abuse

There was a funny comment on the Colbert Report last night, in which he compared deciding the World Cup game with penalty kicks to deciding the NBA finals with a game of "HORSE."

Posted by: Ken | July 11, 2006 6:15 PM | Report abuse

Italian Seria A is famous for dirty players but that does not excuse Zidane's behaviour.This world cup was marred by bad officiating and bad drama queens(mainly due to dives by the Italians and Portuguese).Zidane fell for the oldest trick in the book ....Insults are part of the landscape of football and he should have been prepared to deal with it one final time.This event puts a black mark on the record of a player who is considered the best player in the last 20 years ....and arguably the best European player ever.The Italians did whatever it took to win ... and it is all legit if the refs do not call it .... Therefore ..... a round of applause for the Azzuri.

Posted by: MadProf | July 11, 2006 6:57 PM | Report abuse

Appalling? Really? Two members of the 2002 US national team, Clint Mathis and Josh Wolff played on the same team at the University of South Carolina in the mid 90's. Mathis was on his way to becoming perhaps the greatest American player ever, having scored 25 goals in 18 regular season games on a top five team. In the first round of the NCAA tournament he was taken down from behind in what looked like a deliberate attempt to injure him (he had beaten the defender and kicked the the ball several yards ahead when he was hit), tore his ACL and was never the same player again. Earlier in the season Wolff went in one on one on the a goally who, as Wolff slipped the ball by him into the box and started to go by, stuck out an elbow and broke his collarbone. The break could be heard in the stands.

That's appalling violence.

Posted by: BlueInGreen48 | July 11, 2006 8:25 PM | Report abuse

Well, I think it's very kind of you all not to have stated the obvious, but I guess I'll have to step up to the plate here:

The Italians are barely better than dogmeat, because they barely won. All of the players on all of the other teams are pitiful, sniveling losers who should be well on their way to the abattoir.

It's a harsh old world, but, hey, this is the big league, baby. You're in or you're out! They had four years to get ready, and should have known that this was a winner-take-all kind'a deal.

Posted by: Bob S. | July 12, 2006 12:58 AM | Report abuse

The reason soccer has to have penalty kicks is because there aren't enough scoring opportunities in a game to permit them to play until it's decided on the field. France and Italy might still be playing now. The rules need to be modified to increase scoring opportunities, period. This would mean more excitement, fewer ties and the conditions to permit extratime until the game is decided.

On a related note, I find it hilarious that soccer does not have the "golden goal" (sudden death) anymore in extra time. It's like soccer saying: If after almost two hours of play someone finally scores to take the lead, let's still give the other team the chance to tie it up again so that we can have penalty kicks.

Soccer is designed for masochists.

Posted by: Buffalo | July 12, 2006 10:06 AM | Report abuse

"The day after France's semifinal victory over Portugal, Zidane released a statement in conjunction with an antiracist initiative. Zidane's message reads, 'There is no place for racism. It is impossible to love this sport, to play it, or to support a team and be racist or xenophobic at the same time. The values conveyed by football are the exact opposite of racism. Because racism promotes exclusion and hate. Football, in contrast, brings people together to share a common pleasure. Every four years we experience a unique time in which people congregate together, take part together and celebrate together. Racists are not invited.'"'s almost like Zidane knew the likelihood of racist comments to be made during the Italy-France final...

"I did insult him, it's true," Materazzi said in Tuesday's Gazzetta dello Sport. "But I categorically did not call him a terrorist. I'm not cultured, and I don't even know what an Islamic terrorist is."

what a shame for such commendable citizen and player to be pushed for the last time by the village idiot

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Posted by: John S | July 13, 2006 10:54 AM | Report abuse

And nobody talks about the "Danse du Coup de Boule"...

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