Ageism: 20 Mundial years added (11 days, 6 matches, 3 souvenirs)
Pallor: Blue and white
Forecast: Blessed relief, it’s cooled off
Big day here.
Came after another big day yesterday. The cleaning lady came and the place looks livable again. They even brought extra towels, after spending the last week drying myself off with a dishcloth and toilet paper.
What is it with European showers? Ours is a tub with a flimsy little pane of plexiglass extending up and about three feet out from the wall, only halfway covering the tub. Take a shower, and most of the water ends up on the floor, the mirrors, out in the hall.
This is a grand old building otherwise, with a leafy courtyard in the back where I take my morning beer -- I mean, coffee (just kidding about the beer, but go in the train station at 8 a.m. and there are people actually downing sausage and drinking beer, the World Cup’s breakfast of champions).
According to our local rental agency guy, the area here near the Main River, about five minutes’ walk to the main train station, was spared the worst of bombing during World War II. So we’re actually in one of those places that is an intact, pre-WW II building, which you don't find too often.
It took most of the morning to figure out how the washing machines in the basement work. Like the TV, there’s no simple idiot-proof “power” switch. Instead there’s a sequence that requires some mental dexterity, which is not exactly a strong point when you’ve added 20 Mundial years to your life. Through trial and error, it was figured out. We have laundry! Hup, Hup!
Remember that old show The Odd Couple? We’re sort of living it here. There’s Brunt of the Globe and there’s me, the gnarly old farts given to T-shirts and jeans, and on Thursday night, the sartorially splendid, younger and much hipper Cathal Kelly rolled in to bunk on a cot in the living room for a few nights.
Cathal showed me the ropes, as he usually does. This is a guy who’s already spent 1,000 Euros here on a blue pinstripe linen suit. I dare him to put that on his expense account.
“That’s too much soap,” he said. “I can tell who does the washing at your house.”
One more thing: Happy birthday, Jessica. I miss you, I love you, have a great day - and oh, almost forgot, I’ve got a pair of bright orange overalls with a tail on ‘em for you.
I’m on my way to Kaiserslautern for Italy-USA later today, Cathal’s staying in Frankfurt for Portugal-Iran. Here’s the daily lineup (oh, and I don’t wanna gloat too much, Jlo, but I did call that Mexico-Angola draw yesterday. I know that’s blind pig meeting acorn stuff, but c’mon!):
Saturday’s games (will be updated)
Portugal 2, Iran 0. The good news: Forca! Portugal get a couple of second-half goals and they're guaranteed of a spot in the knockout stage now. The bad news: They'll have to play either Argentina or the Netherlands when they get there.
Ghana 2, Czech Republic 0. Shock result, but this was no fluke. Ghana played amazing atacking footy, grabbed an early goal, then added another one late against Czechs, who were reduced to 10 men in the 66th minute. Depending on what happens later, this one could really throw the group into a cocked hat. The game of the tournament, end to end, and Peter Cech in the Czech goal faced more shots than he did all season at Chelsea -- at least, it sure seemed that way.
Italy 1, USA 1. A glorious shambles of a game, Italy down to 10 men then US down to 9. Americans hang on gamely, Italy fail to press as resolutely as they could have with that advantage. Casey Keller makes the save of the tournament on Del Piero in alone, and now the group is all mixed up: Italy 4 points, Czech Republic 3, Ghana 3, USA 1. The last set for this group on Thursday. Too many things to go over here - I gotta get to work.
Japan v Croatia. I really have no idea here. But I have to make a pick and I think that ol’ Zico has finally run out of ideas. Croatia 1, Japan 0.
Brazil v Australia. I’m going to stick with my samba-hatin’. But with chubba-chub Ronaldo getting a clean bill of health and the rest of ‘em smarting after a so-so opener, the poor ‘Roos could well be up against it, but I’m really looking forward to this one, I’ll be at it and it should be one helluva party. Brazil 3, Australia 1.
France v South Korea. Oh, merdre! Allez’s Got the Bleus! Okay, okay, I’ll fermez le bouche now. South Korea 1, France 1.
Quote of the day
"We're not in a coma yet." United States coach Bruce Arena, giving it the old rah-rah-rah before facing Italy.