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Thursday, January 12, 2017

World Cup Expands to 48 Teams:

Maybe the USA will be able to qualify in 2026?  Now that all the continents are being given larger quotas to fill in the 16 new slots, one would hope that the farce that is 2018 US men's qualifying will never be repeated again.  The USA is competing against tiny, low population banana republics in central America and the Caribbean, and we still can't hack it.  But once we lower the bar!  Once we lower the bar we'll definitely get to play with the big boys!

I'm a big fan of this expansion, though.  It's the World Cup, so getting larger representation from the whole world is always a thematic plus.  In addition, teams won't have to play any more games than they previously did, we're just shrinking the group stage (which is boring anyway) and expanding the elimination stage (which is where all the fun is).  Before we worry about a World Cup that's nine years away, though, I'd like to be given some assurance that Russia's 2018 World Cup is not yanked from under them via new sanctions or boycotts.  The amount of hate that's been piled on Russia recently has to be unprecedented, which is all the more amazing considering how much their human rights record has improved since any previous time in their history.  Talk about moving goalposts.  But perhaps the crest of the tide will be the 2018 World Cup, after which everyone will get tired of beating on Russia and we can go back to peaceful, friendly relations again.  If Russia can keep its hosting of the World Cup, that will be a sign that the anti-Russia frenzy has finally worn itself out.

Meanwhile, the San Diego Chargers are moving back to their ancestral home of L.A. (their birthplace in 1960) I'm totally in favor of this decision.  The most spectacular stadium of all time is being built for L.A. pro football.  The question wasn't whether it would host two teams (and thus have a home game every weekend), it was only what two teams they would be.  The Chargers would be foolhardy to pass on the golden ticket the owners gave them last year to be the #2 team after the Rams.  If they waited any longer it would have gone to the Raiders, and then the Chargers would have been stuck in their crumbling stadium for the rest of eternity.  This way the Chargers get a shiny new stadium in a shiny new home (which has over twice the population of San Diego and thus deserves two teams more than San Diego ever deserved one), and the Raiders will still get the same when they move to Las Vegas.  Nobody in Vegas wanted the Chargers, so only this particular arrangement would have gotten all three teams into new, world-class stadiums.  As far as the overall NFL's health goes, this is just a no-brainer.

San Diego and Oakland had a chance to finance new stadiums and they turned it down, so to hell with them.  NFL teams are a rare commodity and there's no point putting pearls before swine.  I'm still waiting for an NFL team to move to San Antonio, and these people are actively thumbing their noses at their own teams.  Boy will they miss 'em when they're gone.  It's not like Oakland or San Diego have anything else to be proud about.

Meanwhile, Index's latest volume has been translated, New Testament #17, so now's your chance to catch up on Touma's latest misfortunes.

I finished Kokoro's route in Majikoi S.  Only a million more to go.

The Labyrinth of Grisaia's 18+ version has been released.  I think the anime covered the VN well enough that it's not really necessary to have for any but the most die-hard fans though.

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