Ok - I'm back. Yes - a vegas trip report will be imminent, and include elements of the following:
-insanely bearish Vegas channel checks
-Mike Matusow showering
-a top tier blackjack angle shoot by yours truly
-my buddy Ted placing 4th in the $5k PLO event at the WSOP
-Howard Lederer - Phil Ivey prop bets
-Bajungi Tilt at the Ventian, twice, both non-poker related
-Why Steve Wynn won't serve you a margarita with salt
-eating potato chips in first class with Ming Tsai at 2:30am at 30,000 feet.
in the meantime, I enjoyed this paragraph from Bill Gross:
"But they – the developing nations – are not growing fast enough, at least internally, to return global growth to its old standards. Their financial systems are immature and reminiscent of a spindly-legged baby giraffe, having lots of upward potential but still striving for balance after a series of missteps, the most recent of which was the Asian crisis over a decade ago. And so they produce for export, not internal consumption, and in the process leave a gaping hole in what is known as global aggregate demand. Developed nation consumers are maxed out because of too much debt, and developing nations don’t trust themselves to stretch their necks for the delicious leaves of domestic consumption just above."
Although I do not hold a PhD in economics, I will point out that I've been harping on this "Developed nation consumers are maxed out because of too much debt" as the main point in the paradigm shift of behavior that is changing our domestic economic landscape, which Gross calls the New normal.
Now, on to soccer: I didn't watch the Ghana-Uruguay game, except for the last minute of the second overtime, when Ghana was awarded the shoulda-been-game-winning penalty kick in the 120th minute, after Uruguay's Luis Suarez was penalized and red-carded for a blatant handball on the goal line. Now yes, Suarez cheated - he blatantly and intentionally stopped the ball with his hands - he was caught, he was penalized, and he will miss the next game (two games? not sure what the current straight red card rule is). EDIT: it's one, but FIFA is considering an additional suspension... I think the commenters on Yahoo's blog post on the subject largely got it right, but there are always people who cry "unfair" "travesty" or some other form of injustice. What do you want to happen? Should the penalty for a handball like this be stiffer? Should Ghana get two penalty kicks? One commenter just noted that there was an old rule that allowed a referee to overrule the penalty and simply award a goal in this situation: "In spanish we called it "mano sobre gol es gol", which translates something like hand over goal, is goal" I don't know if that is true or not - I've never heard of it. In any case, Ghana's Gyan missed the pk, and Ghana then lost in the tiebreaking penalty kick shootout.
Earlier in the day, the Netherlands, who are always good, but rarely recognized as a dominant threat, upset perennial powerhouse and favorite, Brazil. Brazil dominated early, but was visibly frustrated by the Dutch overacting on fouls. Arjen Robben, who I previously wrote a post about for scoring one of the best goals you'll ever see, repeatedly went to ground like he had stepped on a land mine, and the Brazilians were FURIOUS with his antics. Robinho was visibly tilted early, SCREAMING in the face of another Dutch player after one of Robben's dives, and Felipe Melo eventually got red carded for stomping on Robben while he was on the ground after another marginal foul. The Melo red card was completely deserved - it was for the conduct after the foul, not the foul, but Robben should be ashamed at his dives throughout the contest. The Brazilians should have resorted to the Kid Dynamite method of dealing with diving opponents: if your opponent is going to "go to ground easily" no matter how little contact you make with him, and the referee is not penalizing him for it, instead penalizing you, you simply need to make sure that you make real contact with your opponent - like a basketball player delivering a hard foul to stop a layup. He's going to ground anyway, make him feel it. In the meantime, I would hope that someone tells Robben to clean up his act for the next game, as I would expect the referees to be aware of the exagerration he demonstrated today. Holland did have one player penalized with a yellow card for "simulation" aka, diving, but it wasn't Robben. (note; there was almost always SOME hint of contact on most of the fouls I'm referring to, which is probably why Robben wasn't penalized, but I think he is still completely guilty of exaggerating the severity of the impacts.)