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003
So, I’ve been watching the World Cup soccer thing. Maybe you’ve heard about it. (I watch when I can, because I am boycotting cable TV).

It involves a game called soccer, or as people all around the world call it “football.” This makes perfect sense for name of the game because athletes kick a ball with their foot and try to score a goal.

We in America don’t call it football because we already have a game called football, which involves large men trying to crush anyone who carries a ball in their hands. That’s our football and that’s why we call the game where one kicks the ball with their feet, soccer. Aw, but ain’t that America for you and me.

So back to the World Cup.

I have watched a few games on TV and noticed all these guys got shirts that say FIFA. And I’m thinking, “It’s the World Cup. Shouldn’t your shirts say “WC”?

Then someone told me that in Europe “WC” means there’s a bathroom on the right. In the United States, CCR sings there’s a bathroom on the right. So, I am confused.

I am told that the international symbol for Water Closet is “WC”, so when you have to make water Miss Daisy, you look for the “WC” sign telling you that’s where you go.

That being said, I am sure you would not want to go to the WC in Europe and find a soccer game going on. That’s why they wear FIFA shirts. Although, in some urgent moments, occasionally a patron of the WC can be heard screaming, “Gooooooooooaaaaaaaal” before he shakes it.

It turns out that FIFA stands for, Fédération Internationale de Football Association This was apparently started in France on May 21, 110 years ago in 1904. It’s a Federation AND an Association. And speaking of the Association, you have to Cherish that it’s sometimes a Windy day when Mary comes along to play the game.

So back to the World Cup.

My current budget prohibits me from paying $1,237.00 a month for cable TV so I am not able to watch all the games. But, on a lark, I found that all the games in my area are on free TV on the Telemundo channel. It is the local Spanish station, Channel 66 here.

Now I will admit, while I am bilingual my other lingual I learned in school was Latin. Which does me little or no good unless I take the DeLorean to ancient Rome and tell Julius Caesar that “Et tu, Brute” means “you too Brutus” and not “Hey Brutus, stop stabbing me.”

So back to the World Cup.

I also learned this from watching a soccer game (or do you call it football) on Telemundo over the weekend. You don’t really NEED announcers for a soccer game.

These brilliant athletes run all over the field chasing a ball continuously for 90 minutes.
I don’t need some one to tell me “He kicked the ball. He kicked the ball long. He missed the goal oooo Costa Rica …” The game is perfectly defined in the absence of any announcer.

And if by some weird chance they actually score, the announcer yells, “GGGGGGGGGOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLL.” This requires no bilingual language skills to know something significant happened.

So back to the World Cup.

These spectacular athletes run all over the field chasing the ball, except the goalie. He wears a different color shirt and stands near the goal net eating popcorn and listening to music. Two or three times a half he reaches out a gloved hand to try and stop the ball from going into the net. Then he kicks it a thousand yards the other way, adds butter to the popcorn and waits.

(Unless of course you are the Goalie for the USA. Then you have absolutely no time for popcorn as you are continually peppered with shots on goal that come faster than a power sprayer at a car wash.)

So, in this particular game, after 90 minutes of regulation time and another 30 minutes of extra time, NOBODY scored a GGGOOAAAAAAAAAAAALL.

Now you would think they would keep playing, but they don’t. In the FIFL, they do something called a Shoot out. This involves the goalie, trying to protect an area approximately 60 feet wide and 8 feet tall while the opposing player stands 12 yards away. This is how they decide the winner of the game.

I was thinking this might be an interesting way to end other games.

Like basketball. Instead of having overtime in a tie game, each team has a free throw shooting contest.

Or football. Each Quarterback stands 30 yards from the end zone and throws the ball through the goal posts until someone misses.

Or in baseball, you hit ground balls at the shortstop and whoever misses one first loses.

But this is soccer, or as everyone else in the world calls it, football and that’s how they decide who wins.

So if you got a chance, grab a box of popcorn, wear a different shirt and pretend you’re a goalie and watch the exciting conclusion of the 2014 World Cup this weekend. If you want to be an American goalie, watch that rerun of I Love Lucy where she tries to grab al the chocolates that she can as the conveyor belt speeds by.

Thanks for reading. Your comments on the World Cup are invited and appreciated. The camel will respond to each and every one, unless the game goes into overtime.

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007
The 4th of July! Why does it have such a ring to it? Or should I say BOOM to it?

August 2nd? No ring.

2nd of July? No boom.

“It was the 3rd of June, another sleepy dusty Delta day …” That has some twang.

“It was the 3rd of September. That day I’ll always remember …” That has some soul.

Perhaps you prefer to call it Independence Day.

Funny thing is, even the Founding Fathers didn’t call it anything when George Washington threw the quarter across the Potomac River that chopped down that Cherry Tree. Wait, wrong story.

Oddly, George Washington did not sign the Declaration of Independence. As commanding general of the Continental Army, he was unable to be there. General Washington had the Declaration read to his assembled troops on July 9 in New York, where they awaited the combined British fleet and army.

If you haven’t already read Founding Father, John Adams’ July 3, 1776 letter to his wife Abigail, here’s an excerpt (1):

“The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.”

Pretty cool, huh? Let’s have an Epocha today! But can you imagine Thomas Jefferson’s surprise at Adams choice of July 2 for the celebration? Here’s how I envision this conversation going down.

Thomas Jefferson (TJ): Uh Johnny A, I thought we agreed on the Fourth of July.

John Adams (JA): Yeah, but Abigail liked the second.

TJ: Johnny, Johnny, Johnny. What Abby likes ain’t no thing. The second of July gots no ring. Can’t wear that red, white, and blue bling.

JA: Tommy can you hear me? It’s 1776. There be-ist no rap yet.

TJ: And there also be-ist no overpriced craft beer either, but thine cousin, Sam Adams worketh the barley and hops when he’s not trying to find his father.

JA: Hath thou checked out his brew, yet?

TJ: I have and here’s a hint for Sammy. Splashest some lemon in it and call it Summer Ale.

JA: Great idea, Tommy. And I agree, the Fourth of July it will be.

TJ: Word to Abby.

And that’s the story of why we are not celebrating Independence Day today, July 2nd.

So, here’s some interesting 4th of July fun facts:

Independence as formally declared on July 2, 1776. On July 4, the Continental Congress formally approved the final text of the Declaration of Independence. However, the document was actually signed by most of the delegates later, on August 2nd, 1776.

In 1778, George marked the 4th of July with a double ration of rum for the fighting boys.

Presidents Thomas Jefferson and John Adams died on the 4th of July in 1826, fifty years after 1776. James Monroe, the 5th President died in 1831 on the 4th of July

Calvin Coolidge, the 30th President was born on the 4th of July.

Lou Gehrig’s “Today, I consider myself the luckiest man alive” speech was on the 4th of July in 1939.

Nathan’s Hot Dogs began an eating contest in 1972 on the 4th of July.

The vast majority of US Flags are “Made in China.” Think that one over.

So enjoy the celebration of Independence Day in America. (Or do you call it July 4th?)

Cook a burger, fry a hot dog, have a slice of apple pie, tip a beverage.

Just take a moment to remember the bold courage of our founding fathers oh so many years ago.

Me, I’ll be making a milkshake.

FOOTNOTE: (1) Here’s a link to the National Park Service Website that tells the whole story: http://www.nps.gov/foju/historyandculture.htm

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