Following the U.S. Soccer team began for me some months ago when they drew England for their first match. They famously upset England at their last World Cup meet-up in 1950. That game became known as the Miracle in the Grass, and I can’t blame England for licking their chops for revenge this time around.
But the U.S. emerged with a respectable tie in that first appearance, with unfortunate assistance from English goalkeeping (“Here’s one spill the Yanks won’t complain about,” quipped London’s Sunday Times).
So Friday they meet Slovenia, who also host the great Ljubljana Jazz Festival, and provided a common family name for accordionist extraordinaire Guy Klucevsek. England plays Algeria the same day, rounding out the second round of matches for our group.
Those plastic horns everyone is blowing at the Cup? Vuvuzelas. The Wikipedia entry starts innocently enough, but then seems to have been recently edited…
The instrument is played using a simple brass instrument technique of blowing through compressed lips to create a buzz, and emits a loud monotone (B♭3). A similar instrument (known as corneta in Brazil and other Latin American countries) is used by football fans in South America.
Vuvuzelas have been controversial. They have been associated with permanent noise-induced hearing loss, cited as a possible safety risk when spectators cannot hear evacuation announcements, and potentially spread colds and flu viruses on a greater scale than coughing or shouting… Commentators have described the sound as “annoying” and “satanic” and compared it with “a stampede of noisy elephants”, “a deafening swarm of locusts”, “a goat on the way to slaughter”, and “a giant hive full of very angry bees.”
Indeed. I know a few trumpeters who would wear that as a badge of honor.