Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Good Beer vs. Good Wine

The humbling sequel to World Cup 2006, Scorpions vs. Poland, Redrum Card, Trench Foot, and Europe vs. Europe.

Germany v. Italy - July 4th

This July 4th marked the United States of America's 230th Birthday. How did Umlaut celebrate such an important date in American History? DUH! By watching foreigners play a game that most Americans have no clue about, of course!

Umlaut met friends at the faux Irish pub The Phoenix in The Mission to watch the game. I was hoping for a German victory, which would make a Germany v. France World Cup Final one step closer to reality and allow me to pull out all the stops on my History Geek WW1 and WW2 references for this space. I was also expecting some decent food and a cold beer (or two).

I'd never been to The Phoenix before and I will sum the place up with 3 words: THE SERVICE SUCKED. I ordered food FOUR TIMES from 2 different people and my order never made it to the kitchen. I ordered a beer (ONE beer) SIX TIMES from 2 different people and my order never made it to the bar. It was astounding. For whatever reason, the place only had 1 bartender and 1 waitress working and the place was packed.

Going up to the bar for a drink was useless since the lone bartender was completely overwhelmed like the Marines on Wake Island. The barback was pressed into service taking orders and trying to serve customers, but he was like a clerk typist at Bastogne forced into combat due to extreme circumstances.

My beer FINALLY arrived during the 60th minute of the game and it felt like I was receiving a supply drop from a C-47 during Operation Market Garden. However, my food NEVER arrived, just like the reserve Panzer divisions never arrived to counterattack on D-Day. To paraphrase Winston Churchill: "Never have so few done so little for so many..."

As the game unfolded, I found myself supporting Germany more as a reaction to the drunk, loud, and obnoxious Australian guy sitting to our right who was cheering for Italy. I once read that during the fierce fighting on New Guinea, some desperate Japanese troops resorted to cannibalism when their food supplies ran out. Reportedly they said Australian troops tasted the best. I am NOT making that up. How do you say "chicken" in Japanese?

Alas, as you probably know, Germany lost the excellent match in heartbreaking fashion. To paraphrase the Scorpions: The Germans had a blackout, they really had a blackout.

That evening Miatomic hosted an eccellente impromptu BBQ to make up for our lack of sustenance at The Phoenix. As I drove home afterwards at around 9:30pm, the skies above certain S.F. neighborhoods were filled with the explosions and tracers from illegal fireworks, not unlike how the skies over London were filled with ack-ack fire during The Blitz.

When I arrived back at Casa de Umlaut, the local news was devoting WAY too much time to a local guy who competed in the annual July 4th Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest in Coney Island, NY. Like the U.S. Soccer Team, the dude was supposed to bring glory to his homeland since the contest had been won by the same Japanese eater 5 years in a row.

Alas, the local guy lost to the perennial Japanese champ, but he did set a new American record by eating 52 hot dogs in 10 minutes... but he was still a loser. Americans like a winner not a wiener (cue that Bruce Springsteen song about being born here).

Man, this year the U.S. has been humiliated by foreigners in The World Cup and now the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest. Happy Birthday America.

In WW2, Italian fighter pilots were recognized by their Allied counterparts as brave opponents blessed with sound flying abilities, but hampered by aircraft that were both under-gunned and under-powered.

Ciao... but Allez la France!