"Love yer brain.. even if it slips down the drain." - The Flaming Lips
Sunday my brain didn't work so good. It was shot. A killer week of shows (Blind Pilot, Yeasayer, Black Angels), work, alarming heat, and The Black Angels Saturday night left my brain in a questionable state on the only day I had to write this here post, and what I did manage to crank out showed it in spades. There's a paragraph floating around cyberspace so preposterous and out of control that it's not even funny, and the plan was to try to wrastle it into something resembling coherence for your Monday night amusement. But then I got home from work in time for the last 15 minutes of the USA vs Canada Olympic Women's Soccer semi final, and well, there's been a change of plans.
Mind you, that incoherent crap will be hammered into shape... eventually (and between us, frankly the coherence of this substitute is debatable too), and my special assignment will see the light of day... soon, once a few facts get confirmed, but for now, my probably still damaged brain is fixated on events in Manchester, and strangely, Mars. Considering our country is a hot mess and awash in crass stupidity, I find myself drawn to stories highlighting human achievement, and NASA successfully landing that billion dollar high tech roving doohickey on Mars was a nice change of pace and a swell affirmation of the virtue of intelligence. Seeing all those nerds jumping around and high five-ing each other just made my me smile. Good for them. Good for us. But that's not what this is about, and neither is this gratuitous and ironic use of David Bowie's "Life On Mars?"
This is about human achievement of another kind. I'll admit I haven't been completely obsessed with the Olympics (other than that Danny Boyle Opening Ceremony), but other than the women's beach volleyball I've caught a few of the Olympic soccer games, mostly to tide me over until the start of the English Premier League in a few weeks. Except for the US Women's soccer team. Them I've followed with tremendous interest, even if catching all of the games has been impossible, like today. I totally figured that the game would be in the books by the time I got out of work, confident as I was that our ladies team would clobber our neighbours to the North on their inexorable march to the gold medal match, but Canada held on, actually leading the match 3 times before we tied it up, forcing the extra time and potentially the diabolical crap shoot that is penalty kicks. And after watching Great Britain's men's soccer team lose to South Korea on penalty kicks the other day in epic fashion, I really... REALLY didn't want penalty kicks. But with literally seconds left before the full time whistle...
Seriously, Hollywood screenwriters couldn't have written that and not gotten laughed out of the room. That was at Old Trafford, home of the legendary (and hated) Manchester United... known all over the world as "The Theatre of Dreams." I could try to liken Old Trafford to Yankee Stadium, but it's not even close; I mean outside of the US, maybe Canada, Japan, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic, nobody gives two shits about baseball. Soccer (or, football) on the other hand... well, people all over the world care about that. So... at "The Theatre of Dreams"... with about 30 seconds of game time left before possible doom during penalty kicks (and Canada dying to stage a colossal upset)... Team USA wins and earns a spot in the gold medal match against Japan... the team that beat them in the last Women's World Cup.... yeah, that could be a bit far fetched. But... like Landon Donovan's winning goal against Algeria in the 2010 World Cup that got us into the knockout stage... it happened. Even a few hours afterwards it still feels like a dream, but yes, amazingly enough it really happened, and again our Women's soccer team are heroes.
Yes, heroes. And yes, I'm using more Bowie. My nationalism has limits, it's the London Olympics, and I don't care if he's not American, it's Bowie (who may or may not be dead according to the Flaming Lips). But as I mentioned earlier, our country is a hot mess, and frankly in many areas attitudes towards women have been moving backwards in the wrong direction. It ain't right, and neither is our nation's exponentially growing institutional anti-intellectualism. Thus it's entirely appropriate and fitting that right now so many of our Olympic medalists are women, and that heroes of the moment are our Women's soccer team, and NASA.